Hello everyone! As you know I am pretty much back from my hiatus and am slowly resuming my regular blogging activities. For those of you that have been following me for a while you might recall that this year I have started a new feature on my blog called Bloggers in the Spotlight. But as it has been a while since I last did a post like this, and there are also quite a number of new bloggers that have joined my cult blog since then, let me explain again what this feature is about. Bloggers in the spotlight is my attempt to shed some light on blogs that are seriously cool, and you might not have found about (yet). As I have a multitopic blog (yes that is definitely a mouthful I agree), I also follow quite a number of different blogs. Usually I point out around 3-5 blogs to you on this feature so you can check them out for yourself and of course follow them (that is kind of the point of this: duh). This is the first time though that I am going to feature only one blog. Huh? What? Are you freaking kidding me here?!? Nope…I am not. I’m only going to feature this one blogger here because A: I wanted to achieve the maximum effect with this post and B: this guy deserves this post. So without further ado let me introduce you to:
So, why put the spotlight on this single blogger ? Well, honestly the trigger for this came when I read another excellent post from Irina (see how I shamelessly put another link to Irina’s blog in this post?). There was a comment left by Weekend on that post, that really got to me, and quite frankly it is something that has always baffled me in the first place. Why on Earth does this guy not have more followers than he currently has? If you have never read a post by him before let me just explain why they are so awesome. The reviews he writes are almost like small works of art. They are often very expansive (though he lately also writes shorter ones, which are equally cool), offering multiple insights in a particular anime. It points out the strengths and weaknesses of a show, but in a way that really is very convincing, with multiple explanations on the subject. Another thing that I really enjoyed is his watch-a- long for the animeseries Your Lie in April. (And from what I understand during my hiatus this was done a second time). It introduced me to one of the most beautiful animeseries that I have ever seen, but it also felt as if I was sitting in the living room with him discussing this show. Every comment left on his site, always gets an answer, and not a short one either.
Lately though, especially after reading his comment on Irina’s post, it seems Weekend is getting a little bit discouraged by the lack of new followers/views on his blog. I guess there are times when we all feel like that. A post you wrote, which you think was pretty awesome hardly gets any views/likes, and you begin to wonder if you should continue. So before this happens to Weekend Otaku I decided to take some action and bring his blog into the spotlight. Not only because the blog deserves it, but because he is just a great guy, who always offers support to others and has been a very active part of the anime community in some form or other. So, in other words: head on over to his blog, read some of his posts, and you will soon see what I am talking about. And if you are not following him yet, go ahead and do so right now!
As for Weekend Otaku, my friend, I hope this post will encourage to get back in the saddle and start writing some of those awesome posts again. I for one can’t wait to read them 😊 Bloggers in the spotlight will return…next time though with more than one blogger featured. Thanks for reading, see you next time 😀
People have always held a kind of morbid fascination when it comes to serial killers. One has to wonder why on Earth that is. There is nothing romantic about it. In fact when you look at all the serial killers from the past and present all you see is a lot of sadness and pain. Especially for the families of the victims of these often loathsome individuals. What drives one to become one? Some of them are just born that way, and have an evil inside them from a very young age. But it also happens that something triggers it. Choosing the wrong friends, an abusive childhood, a traumatic experience, all of these might be the cause of turning someone into a murderous psychopath. But they also say that each and every one of us has a dark side. Which brings me back to my original question, why are we so obsessed with them. Is it because of that inner darkness that we all have inside and that we have to satisfy it in some way? You think I am overreacting? Well, look at the sheer amount of movies and books about serial killers. Got you there didn’t I? Getting creeped out already by this post? Am I getting under your skin? Insert evil grin. No worries…this introduction only served to set the tone for the thrilling Korean drama series Tunnel. Which of course features a serial killer, and time travel. Say what?!?
It is the year 1986 when we meet up with Park Gwang Ho a police detective who is always very determined, enthusiastic and takes his job very seriously. One a day a horrific series of killings shakes up his police district. Women are found dead, having been strangled with their own stockings, and strange dots are left behind on their ankles. Purely by chance the detective stumbles on the culprit and gives chase on foot. Eventually the killer and Park Gwang Ho end up in a tunnel where a fight between them begins. Unfortunately the killer gets the upper hand and strikes our hero on the head leaving him unconscious. When he wakes up and exits the tunnel, he gets the shock of his life. Apparently Park Gwang Ho has been transported thirty years into the future leaving him stranded in the year 2016. Determined to find his way back home and to his wife he left behind, he assumes the identity of a police detective who carries the same name as himself. Together with a new (and in the beginning very reluctant) partner named Kim Sun Jae, and a beautiful but mysterious criminal profiler and psychology professor Shin Jae Yi, he tries to fit into this new and unfamiliar world. But when it seems the murders that he tried to stop 30 years ago are starting up again, things become very grim indeed. The serial killer is still at large and will stop at nothing to continue with his killing spree……
Time travel and a serial killer blended into one single series? That is pretty much a match made in heaven. While this 16 episode series wasn’t perfect, it was very enjoyable and I bingewatched the hell out of it finishing it in about 3 days. One of the best things in this Korean drama is once again it’s characters. The three leads had a very good chemistry between them, which helped make this series a cut above the rest. Actor Choi Jin-huyk brings to life the hero time travelling cop and he just had a vibrant energy to his role that worked very well. He seems to be able to handle a wide range of emotions, from heartbreak to comedy, and he is able to switch between them in the blink of an eye. His future partner played by actor Yoon Hyun-min is more serious, but the chemistry between both actors is terrific. I really enjoyed some of their comedic banter that hardly ever failed to bring a smile to my face and a lot of their scenes together were certainly the highlight of this series. And then there was actress Lee Yoo-young who played the role of Shin Jae Yi. She was a bit of a cold fish at the start of this series, and I did not really know what to make of her. But when the series progressed her character began to grow, and at the end I really ended up liking her very much. She was very heroic and a verbal exchange between her and the killer in one of the show’s final episodes gave me goosebumps. She played that scene so incredibly well and lifelike.
Speaking of the role of the killer, and I am not going to mention the actor’s name in fear of spoilers, I can only say one thing: WOW! What a loathsome, terrifying and incredibly evil monster did this actor give birth too. It is an incredible performance and out of the many serial killer roles that I have seen in my life, he certainly is in the top three. That’s for sure. Over the course of the 16 episodes that this series has, we get a story that has some nice shocks and tension, some comedy (mainly because of a few side characters that I haven’t named here, but really help to relieve some of the darker aspects of the show), and heartbreak as well. That said, there were also some moments during the middle of the drama where I felt it began to feel a bit slow. But luckily those moment did not carry on and the final episodes really made you forget those moments very quickly. Another element that I was a bit dissappointed by was the use of the timetravel aspect of this series. I had expected it to be used more, with maybe some clever jumps in between the timelines, but sadly that did not really happen.
Still, this Korean drama was a wonderful show. Even though it had some dark events happening in it, it never became too depressing. Most serial killing movies/series always seem to go to for the shocks or the horror, and while there were certainly scenes like that in it, there was also enough room for other more lighthearted things which was very refreshing. Tunnel is well worth checking out and also a series that for me at least seems like a good one to watch if you have never entered the world of the Korean dramas before. With memorable characters, a great, gripping and often tense story, this drama will leave a lasting impression in your mind. Well, that wasn’t too bad was it? I know the beginning of this review might have creeped you out, but hey it had to be done. Even I have a dark side…..
We all know that blogging is hard. And if you don’t yet, you only have to read this week’s absolutely amazing post about that subject by the wonderful Arthifis to see what I mean. (Just press on the link…come on you know you want to). I have been blogging for almost two years now (Yes time does fly when you are having fun), and I have seen many new bloggers come, but sadly also go. Blogging takes commitment, it takes time, and it takes energy. But the rewards…oh the rewards they are so amazing, I can’t even describe them. And one of the best rewards, if not the best award is meeting all kinds of wonderful people on this journey. But sometimes, just sometimes…you meet someone in this community that has something special, that is just even more extraordinary than everyone else (and trust me there are many individuals like that here). But….today…I want this post to be about someone that I not only think is an amazing blogger, but also someone that should begin to realise by now that she is a person that inspires people here. It’s also someone who today celebrates her blogging anniversary of one year. I’m talking of course about *drumroll please* ….the wonderful Irina.
Now….the first thing you might notice right now is the fact that this post is published at the exact moment the clock strikes midnight in Irina’s country. In other words the exact moment when sunday starts for her, and the day her blog turns one year old. (That is I hope I did my research correctly, no pressure……). But that is just a technicality. Irina, this is my way to show how much I look up to you, but most importantly how greatly I value your friendship. When I was on my hiatus I at times was feeling very down and sad. But the thing that always brought a smile to me, was just a small word of encouragement from you on Twitter saying something like happy sunday, or just checking in on how I was doing. See my point? That is the kind of person Irina is, always there for others, and always helping out. Today though: we should be there for her: let’s all band together here and show her how much we appreciate her. Leave a comment on this post to wish her well, congratulate her or whatever else you want to say. And not only that: let’s all head over to her blog, leave likes, and in short let us all totally explode her blog stats to give her the best day ever!
On the small chance that you might not have yet discovered her blog, go there now, and see what I am talking about. It’s good isn’t it? Of course it is..so go ahead and follow! Irina on a personal note I truly want to thank you for all that you have done for me, and for being such an amazing friend. The blog you have is something to be enormously proud of and I pretty much know right now that next year by this time: you will have reached 2000 followers. Don’t believe me? Want to place a small bet on it? Seriously though: I hope you will continue to have as much fun writing all those great posts, as I have when reading them. I was really worried I would not be able to complete this post as since friday evening I had enormous WordPress issues that eventually turned out to be Ipad issues. Luckily though I was able to come back just in time. I hope you are going to enjoy this day, because you really should. Be proud of all that you have achieved. I know I am totally proud of you! To close this off: this is me taking a deep bow and saying: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!
I love collab posts, but you would probably be very surprised that I haven’t done many of them. Weird isn’t it? But….no worries, now that I am finally back from my hiatus, I’m working on some pretty cool ones. This one though, takes things to a new level and I am very excited about it to say the least. I was having a very interesting discussion with Ayano from KawaiPaperpandas and as a result well….I will let Ayano do the talking here, as she can explain it even better than I can. In fact she already has, just click on the post below to see what this is all about. So….I can’t wait to see how this is all going to work out: but in short: This is going to be so much fun!! Hopefully you are all as excited about it as both Ayano and I am 😊 And please spread the word as much as you can if you would be so kind. It is very much appreciated 😀
Gooood morning my pandas! It is currently 11:00 am in the lovely state of Oregon and I am ready to go!!!
Y’all are probably wondering what the heck I’m up to huh? Well I’ll tell you! Raistlin and I were having a little chat the other day and we came up with a pretty extensive project…but we need YOUR help! As most of you guys in the blogging community know the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for 2017 were pretty fucking garbage. To say I was disappointed by the results is an understatement.
Some time ago Raistlin and I thought, “Hey…why not make an awards panel of our own?” We played around with the idea for a bit after the results for the Crunchyroll Awards made an appearance but I didn’t think anything of it…UNTIL NOW.
Now I am reaching out to you my pandas! We are holding a so called…
I grew up in the 80’s and for me that was a time that I remember fondly for two things: saturday morning cartoons, and the wonderful toys that these cartoons got their inspiration from. When I was a kid I used to get up at about 7 o’clock in the morning on saturday, turn on the tv to Sky Channel and there it was: the program that set my young eyes alight: Fun Factory. For the first two hours or so, Fun Factory was okayish. But things became really interesting when the “big three” came on: M.A.S.K., He-man and Transformers. Ahhh..to think back on those days, even though they are so many years ago (jeezzzzz I really AM getting old), just brings a smile to my face. When you look at the cartoons from this era and compare them to the golden oldies from the 80’s one can only say that they just don’t make them like they used too. I was and still am a huge Transformers fan (like many kids back in those days). But one of the biggest rivals of Transformers, a dude with a big sword called He-man, honestly failed to impress me. I never bought a He-man toy, and I really did not enjoy the cartoon as much.
Now, thirty years later, I came into posession of the complete series of He-man and the Masters of the Universe on dvd. And…I am loving it. For some reason I have found a new appreciation of the cartoon, but that is a story for another day. As is most often the case when I all of a sudden have a new obsession, I want to find out more about it. And that brings me to this incredible tome that was released a few years back by Dark Horse comics. He-man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection reproduces the comics that came with the toys. Well as I was never interested in the toys in the first place I did not even know of the existence of these comics until I read about this book. The first thing you will notice is how thick this book is (and for that matter how much it weighs). With a massive 1232 pages it will take you a while to get through it all. So what exactly does this book offer you?
This being a comic collection it will not come as a huge surprise when I tell you this humongous book contains comics, and a lot of them. Nearly 70 comics in total are collected here, ranging from the orginal 1982 toylines of He-man and his sister She-ra to a shortlived comic run that should have served as a revival for the series but never quite took off. Besides the comics themselves it also contains a wealth of background info on the series, which includes interviews with some of the writers and pencilers that created these works of art. And I do mean art. As you might have noticed from a couple of the shots I have included in this post, there was some major talent involved when you like at the drawings alone. I love the oldschool style of some of these comics, and for anyone who grew up with comics in the 80’s it’s hard to not smile at the nostalgic feel of it all. At the start of this run, you could hardly speak of comics as they were more stories that were accompanied by pictures. Later the series evolved and became more traditional looking comics.
The art is good, but how are the stories themselves? Well, they range from totally awesome to downright sucky, if you will pardon my French. But overall though most of the comics are pretty cool. It’s classic good vs evil type of storytelling where He-man fights against his nemesis the evil lord Skeletor and his henchmen. A fun fact to know is that one of the comics was written by Robert Kirkman. If that name doesn’t ring a bell he is the creator of a little known comicbook/tv series called The Walking Dead. This being a kid show, are these comics any fun to read when you are an adult? Well, quite frankly yes. He-man always has been a series that targeted an audience of 12 years and older (and ofcourse younger children still watched it anyway because it was cool to do so), and as such some of the stories and comics depict some pretty gruesome creatures and situations. In fact one of the covers of these comics caused quite a big disturbance at the time of it’s release because it was very brutal and had parents all over the world in uproar.
This book is absolutely amazing. If you have a warm heart towards 80’s cartoons, or a love for oldschool type comics, this is a collection that you just have to pick up. It isn’t even a very expensive book, and for the amount of stuff it contains it is well worth the price. It gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of these mini-comics and the amount of work that went into creating these. Even if you have never heard of He-man it’s worth checking it out, especially if you like fantasy type storytelling combined with some of the best art possible. Even though not all of the comics are of the same quality, you will get enough of a kick out of these to make you enjoy it, and forget about some of the lesser comics. In other words go and relive your childhood if you grew up with these cartoons, and buy this book. I promise you, you will not regret it. By the power of Grayskull: I HAVE THE POWERRRRRR!!!!!!
I give He-man the Masters of the Universe mini comic collection a 9 out of 10 score.
There are certain times in my life when I feel like a total noob (erm what am I saying, there are a lot of times when I feel like this). In the world of anime people are probably surprised to learn how many different genres there are within that fantastic medium. And this inspires a lot of anime bloggers out there to create some awesome tags. Take the wonderful Cactus Matt from Anime Q and A for instance. He created the “Build a Harem” tag. Now what the heck is that I can hear you ask. Erm…yes…erm…that was my question as well. And it got worse when I also got nominated for it by Lina, Merlin and Arthifis. Really? I smell a conspiracy here. And just after I published this, I found out that I had been nominated 40 minutes earlier by The Otaku Judge as well so yeah conspiracy 🙂 But I truly thank you guys and girl, for nominating me (erm…I think). I have to my knowledge never seen an Harem anime, so I really had to do some research to find out what this all meant.
It turns out to be rather straightforward actually. A central character is surrounded by three or more male or female characters that are usually romantically attracted to that character (really why doesn’t something like that happen in real life? Ahem…moving on). With that out of the way, now I had to do some research on the type of characters that are featured in these (wow, this almost feels like homework now lol). But I guess, I figured it out…well…at least I think I have (Naw…You are just seeing things, I’m totally not sweating here). So….as always: here are the:
Link back to the original post on Anime Q and A so they can check out everyone’s picks!
Use the ‘Build A Harem’ logo somewhere in the post.
Make sure to mention the person who nominated you too!
Pick 5 Anime Characters (any show & any gender) that would be in your ideal harem if you were the main character of a harem anime, explain a little bit as to why they are your picks (if you want).
Make sure each character you pick falls into some of the following harem character types: Childhood friend, tom boy/girl, genki girl/boy, loli/shota, trap, tsundere, yandere, kuudere, dandere, etc. (If there’s a character you’ve picked that doesn’t specifically fall into one of these types or falls into multiple types that’s fine too!)
Nominate 5 people to participate in this tag!
1. The childhood friend-Naho Takamiya from Orange
So many people hated this character. Mainly because of the fact that she seemed to really make stupid choices or what seemed very odd reactions to the guy she was in love with. I didn’t hate her at all though. In fact I could totally relate to her, because she was the female version of me. When I am in love I tend to do stupid things, and totally freeze up when I get to talk to the girl I love (or in other words I am always afraid to let my true feelings out). So yeah…childhood friend for sure, as I think we would get along very well.
2. The Tomboy Girl-Motoki Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell
Hmm, this was a tough one. And the Major (still my alltime favorite anime character, and she probably will be right up until I die) might even seem an odd choice for this category. When you look up the definition of a tomboy on Google (and Lina did this research as well, she is always very determined), there are so many definitions for that exact word. Still I think Motoko Kusanagi could definitely fill this slot. The way she acts, and the things she does more than qualify as masculine, even though she is still a hot as hell woman. So…yeah…I’m sticking with the Major for this one.
3. The Tsundure-Asuna Yuuki from Sword Art Online
This one I really had to look up, as I had never heard of this word. Tsundure is apparently a character who is initially very cold, or hostile towards someone, until eventually warming up. For this I had only one choice: Asuna. When she first met Kirito, I think she redefined the word cold. And we all know of course how that eventually ended. I would truly dread meeting her when she was first like this, and would probably either run away, or try to grovel before her. (Probably the last, because really…just look at her). So for that last reason alone…she just had to be in my harem.
4. The Kuudure-Touka Kirishima from Tokyo Ghoul
So…ofcourse I totally knew what this one meant. You believe me right? Erm….not that convincing am I? Okay I guess you all knew it but apparently this is a character that seems very cold and indifferent, but actually is very caring. Having watched the first two seasons of Tokyo Ghoul (wait…what? You did that? Why on Earth did you not review it Raistlin??!!!), I can only think of Touka for this one. I instantly fell in love with her when she first shows up. I loved her cool demeanor, total badassery, but also the depth she had. She just had to be added….obviously.
5. The Yandere-Lum from Urusei Yatsura
Aww….last one already?? Yup…and I decided to go with the Yandere type. I got you covered: it’s a character that is totally romantically obsessed by someone to the point of using violent means to get them in their arms. And that is Lum all over. This tigerstriped bikini clad beauty is probably not known by many of you as she is featured in an anime series that ran in the 80’s. She looks gorgeous doesn’t she? Don’t let this alien princess fool you though…she will use any means necessary to get her darling (that is what she calls the poor boy that is the object of her affection), even using electrocution. Oh well…I would not mind being chased by her…not at all….
Honestly this tag has gotten so big, that I have kind of lost track who has already been tagged, so if you already got nominated for this one, feel free to ignore it. And if you haven’t and don’t want to do this one, I totally understand as well. My nominees are….
1. Shokamoka (Well I know that you have already been nominated, but I just want to let you know in this way that I miss seeing you here)
The world of computergames is vast. Some say it is currently one of the biggest entertainment mediums, bigger even than Hollywood movies. Many of you already know this but I used to be a very fanatical gamer. One could argue that I was so fanatical that it wasn’t even healthy anymore. But that’s a thing of the past now, as I have stopped playing computergames altogether, well on consoles that is. I do play the occasional game on my Ipad, but that’s nowhere near the level of games that I was used to playing. Games these days are becoming ever more immersive, with virtual reality being one of the latest trends. Putting on special goggles, gamers can experience the gaming world in a way that is almost lifelike. I do say almost, as of course the technology isn’t anywhere close to the things you sometimes see in science fiction movies. Two years ago, around the time when my blog was up and running for a few months, I discovered the anime Sword Art Online, which focusses heavily on virtual reality gaming. It fast became one of my alltime favorite animeseries and now I have a huge collection of merchandise from that series (proving once again my point that I can truly become obsessed when I like something).
Last year a movie that was a follow-up to the series saw the light of day, and now I finally had the chance to see this one for myself as it was released on dvd two weeks ago. (Well here in Europe anyway). Was it worth the wait? Hell yeah it was! It is the year 2026, and the world is under the spell of the Augma device, a new system that allows players all over the world to simulate reality while still being conscious. As a few years prior players became trapped in a virtual reality game called Sword Art online, that used a full dive system, this new device is deemed much safer. We once again meet up with Kirito and Asuna, both survivors of the horrible SOA event, and not surprisingly both are also using the Augma to play the newest and most popular game Ordinal Scale. Although Kirito doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself as much. But then a new event is introduced to the game: old boss monsters from the Sword Art Online world begin appearing accompanied by the mysterious AI idol singer Yuna. What at first seems like a fun and welcome addition to the game, soon begins to take on a much more sinister shape. With Asuna’s life on the line, Kirito has to find out what is going on, before it’s too late. But it might already be too late, for Kirito seems to have met his match in the form of a player that is able to counter his every move….
Sword Art Online is a series that is hated upon by a lot of animefans. I’m not going to start up that old discussion as I am here to talk about this movie. Suffice it to say though that I am a huge fan of this anime, in fact so much so that it has taken up a spot on my personal top 3 of favorite animeseries. When I first heard about the fact that there would finally be something coming out that would continue the storyline I was delighted. At the same time though I also felt anxious. What if it would suck? Well, having finally been able to see this film now, I am very glad to let you all know that my fears were unfounded. If you are a fan of the animeseries you will love this. Let’s talk about the storyline first. One of the things I really liked about it, is the way it treated the main characters of Asuna and especially Kirito. It was very refreshing to see the latter being out of his element and not the powerhouse player we are used to seeing in the series. Kirito really struggles within this new life and death game, and it takes him a long while to adapt. Asuna also at a certain point becomes very vulnerable, and it’s a side we are not always used to seeing from the starstruck couple. It’s their relationship and love for each other that continues to be heartwarming, and very touching though.
Another thing I liked about the film’s story is some of the questions it asked that really made you think.What if you were able to forget about things from your past that were not very happy thoughts or events? Would you do that if you were able to? Or are they a part of your life no matter how unhappy these memories might be? I think that is an intriguing question and one that could almost be the topic for an entire post or at the very least a lively discussion. The movie runs for two hours, and it is in my opinion just a tad bit too long. Some of the story elements felt a bit forced, and a few of the side characters had way too little screentime, but were probably just added to the mix for the fans. Nevertheless there are also quite a few things in it for fans of the original series that will in all likelyhood give you a few goosebumps. On the action front the film doesn’t disappoint. Even though it’s not a full on fight fest, there are enough action scenes in the film that make it very satisfying. The fights also feel much more threatening and dangerous.
While the animation might not be as beautiful as some of the higher level animefilms out there, I still found it to be very decent, with some spectacular setpieces. The new outfits for most of the characters also worked quite well and had a really nice look to it. Another thing that plays a big role in this film is the music. With the introduction of the new character of Yuna, an AI idol singer, there were quite a number of scenes that featured her singing. At times it almost felt as if I was watching a new installment of the Macross saga. But I have to admit that this element did work quite well and wasn’t distracting in the least. The music featured in the film fits the tone of Sword Art Online and as such is very pleasing to the ear. Even though the film can be watched on it’s own without any prior knowledge of the world of Sword Art Online, you will find it more enjoyable if you first watch the original anime. If you hated SOA in the first place, this movie won’t make you love the series all of a sudden. For the fans though this is a more than decent follow up to the original anime and with the words Sword Art Online will return at the end of the credits, we can rest assured that we haven’t seen the last of Kirito and Asuna. And I would not have it any other way. Link start !
I give Sword Art Online-Ordinal Scale a 8 out of 10 score.
There is a particular type of film in the action genre that I am very fond of: the revenge movie. I always love it when someone loses everything and then turns into a complete psycho, hellbent on getting revenge on his or her tormentors. Usually that makes for a very entertaining, albeit often bloody, movie experience. As with any film genre there is always a risk that there are too many movies that are being made and as such it becomes either predictable or very boring. The South Korean movie industry certainly is no stranger to this particular type of film. In the past, movies such as Old Boy, I Saw the Devil and A Company Man have all been received very well (while at the same time causing quite a stir because of the often extreme violence depicted in those movies). No matter how you look at it, I have always thought that the Koreans are masters of the genre, and I always look forward to a new entry into the ranks. Last year The Villainess was released, that supposedly infused the revenge movie with a new and fresh take on it. Having just seen the film, I have mixed feelings about it, but more on that later.
The Villainess can best be described as South Korea’s take on La Femme Nikita. It focusses on a woman named Sook-hee who is a highly trained assassin. As a young girl she lost her father to an unknown assailant and witnessed him being killed while hiding under her bed. The face of the killer is unknown to her, but she does hear him whistle an eerie tune. Years later Sook-hee is captured by South Korea’s intelligence agency and given a new identity and name: Yeon-soo. While she is being trained by them, she gives birth to her daughter Eun-hye. Yeon-soo is offered the deal to work for the intelligence agency, and after 10 years she will gain her freedom for herself and her daughter. Having very little choice she accepts. But the shadow of her father’s death always looms over her. Eventually the past creeps up on her as it usually tends to do in these matters. With people gunning for her at every turn, the life expectancy of the skilled assassin becomes ever shorter. But Yeon-soo will not go down without a fight…
The opening sequence of this film puts you smack down right in the middle of the action. Without even knowing exactly what is going on, we see a fight sequence from a first person view as Sook-hee hacks, shoots and punches her way through a group of men in a warehouse. It is chaotic, bloody, brutal, but honestly a truly terrific way of setting the tone for this film. Where this film excels at is it’s uniquely choreographed fight sequences. The camera angles in some of the scenes are really one of a kind, and at times it feels almost as if you are the one that is delivering all of the violence. And there is a word that also describes this film very well: violence. This movie is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t shy away from showing arteries being ruptured, limbs being cut off, and blood spraying in every direction. The Villainess is a brutal movie but as usual this does suit the theme of the film. If it’s action you want, this film brings it and then some. Be especially on the look out for a highspeed motorcycle chase that I found to be one of the best scenes of the film.
The hero of the film (if you can call her that of course) is being played by actress Kim Ok-vin and she does it well. Or to phrase it better: she knows how to kick some ass. A film like this stands or falls with a good lead, and she certainly doesn’t disappoint. In the fight sequences she shines the most as she is able to hold her own against the men that are trying to take her life. And she manages to do so with guns, knives and her bare hands. It all feels natural and realistic and you could almost believe she is an assassin in real life. Her character hasn’t got much depth to it, but admittedly the bond with her young daughter is what gives this otherwise very bleak movie at least a little bit of sunshine. This movie pretty much centers around her, and that’s why the supporting cast, such as it is, doesn’t really get a chance to show what they are made of. That is certainly one of the weak points of the film.
Another one is the story itself. At times it’s very confusing to follow what exactly is going on. The film uses a lot of flashback scenes, which is not a bad thing in itself, but at times it seems to insert them almost randomly. Not only that but sometimes you get one right after another and in a totally different time frame. That took me out of the film quite a few times and left me looking at the screen in bewilderment. While the action in movies like this is usually the most important, I do have to say that in revengethrillers especially it’s nice to have at least some kind of motive for the main character. In that this film partially succeeded but it could have been handled better. With all of it’s flaws I still recommend seeing this movie if you like these type of films. The action sequences alone make it a very worthwhile watch, as in this it really does try to do something totally different than what we are used to seeing. Don’t expect to much from it, and you will have a great time. Especially if you like to see a strong woman beat the crap out of a bunch of men.
Let’s talk. Let’s really talk for a bit. The topic? Well how about conversations? No, I am not trying to be funny here, I am really going somewhere with this. We have conversations every day. Unless of course you are stranded on some remote island with no one to talk to (although I hear a volleybal called Wilson could really help you out with that problem). Getting back to the topic of conversations. you have to admit that they make up a very big part of our lives. We talk to our friends, loved ones, parents, customers even total strangers. But now for a tough question. In how many of the conversations you have had were you totally honest? Ahhh…hard to say isn’t it? We all tell lies, and anyone who denies that is, well a big fat liar. But probably not all those lies were intentional. Sometimes you might tell a lie just to spare someones feelings. It’s the conversations where you have said something hurtful that you can’t take back though, that most of us will probably remember the most. A slip of the tongue or an intentional comment with the sole purpose of causing pain, I guess it’s safe to say we have all been there at some point. A moment where you kick yourself for saying something so stupid, or wish you could take it back. It’s the conversations where you don’t even realise that you are causing pain that might be the worst though.
And this last thing is exactly what happens to the young child Jun Naruse in the animated movie the Anthem of the Heart. Jun has always been a chatterbox. She is very cheerful and is always happily talking about pretty much anything that is on her mind. One day she comes home and tells her mother how she saw her father doing something that to her young childlike mind was pretty awesome. Her mother freezes though, and eventually this innocent remark results in her parents getting a divorce. Even worse her father puts all the blame on her. Jun runs away in tears, and while she tries to work through her grief a fairy egg appears. It makes sure that all of Jun’s words are sealed away so that she can never cause hurt to anyone ever again. Years later we meet up again with Jun when she is in highschool. She is but a shell of her former self. Jun is unable to speak, and tries to stay of the radar in class. But then her teacher, mister Jōshima invites her to become a member of the Charity Committee together with three other classmates. Naturally she is not at all happy about this, especially since it seems that they are going to have to prepare for a musical piece. But just when she is about to quit, something happens that changes her mind. Or beter yet someone. Will Jun find the courage to regain her voice?
Now admit it: you read the synopsis of the film and were thinking something along the lines of ” Wow this sounds incredibly boring”. When I tell you that the runtime of this film is two hours I can almost hear the gears grinding in your head already and crossing this movie of your to watch list. You would miss out on something quite special though. This is one of those films that has a very simple story, but turns into something quite extraordinary. And here’s some of the reasons why (erm, no not going to give you 13 of them I am afraid). For one thing it’s the wonderful characters. Jun herself is hard not to like. Since she is at the center of the films, and this is pretty much her story it’s important to have a lead that you care about it. And you do. Jun’s journey of rediscovery and trying to forgive herself is fascinating to watch. At times you want to kick her, and even hate her for some of the things she does in this film. At the same time though, you can understand what drives her, and how incredibly vulnerable she is. The supporting cast is equally important to the story and just as enjoyable to watch as Jun herself. Why? Because they are really human. All of them are not perfect and have their own insecurities and flaws.
I love it when there are characters in a film that are not just there because it’s necessary for them to appear at a certain point, but just have depth and things you can relate to. It’s hard to make a story like this interesting to watch, especially considering the fact that this is a two hour movie that is filled with dialogue and a lot of music. But it succeeds in doing that. The intricate relationships between all of the characters and the way that basically they support each other’s flaws is the heart of what makes this movie work so well. As this is in part a musical as well, you will find sections of the film that are filled with music. But not the typical music that you normally find in anime films. Songs like “Over the Rainbow” and ” Around the World” give this film an extra special touch and just simply work very well, and don’t feel out of place at all. The animation style and level of detail is great too. It’s one of those films that has an almost dreamlike quality to it, and unless you are a very cynical person that doesn’t see beauty in anything, it’s almost impossible to not get touched by it.
But that strength is also at the same time it’s weakness. If you are someone who likes their films tense, filled with action and a breakneck pace, then I’m sorry to say that you are not going to be finding that anywhere in this film. What you are going to find though is a movie that has it’s title very well chosen. It will touch your heart and fill you with emotion while at the same time giving you a wonderful feel good feeling. If I were to make a comparison to something that has as a similar feel to Anthem of the Heart it would be Your lie in April. And I don’t think I could hand out a better compliment to this movie than that last one. While I would not call this film a masterpiece or classic, it does come very close. It’s a wonderful film that turns something simple into a very powerful piece of storytelling. It will also make you ask an important question: When is telling the truth something that might not be the best thing to do? I haven’t yet discovered the answer to that one. If you have, be sure to let me know!
I give The Anthem of the Heart a 9 out of 10 score.
I don’t know how many blogs are currently a part of WordPress, but I would not be very surprised if that number is somewhere above a million in total. I think we all come across new blogs every day that look interesting, have topics that you like or just look pretty damn awesome. But, no matter which way you look at it, you can’t follow everyone. I have a dayjob that keeps me pretty occupied throughout the day, and as such I have about 5-6 hours of free time on weekdays. I love reading other people’s posts, and commenting on them, but I have currently reached my limit at the number of people I can follow. But, sometimes, you want to give yourself a slap on the forehead (or punch yourself in the face whatever works best for you), when you find out that you are not yet following a blog that you thought you were. For me that happened just before I headed of to Animecon. I was just checking through some older comments that I had missed during my hiatus, and found out that I had been tagged by Irina. (Don’t worry I will get to you after this). Reading through the post, I found out that the tag was created by Kimchisama.
She is someone who I have seen making regular comments and giving likes on my posts, as well as following me on Twitter. But…I wasn’t yet following her. Sigh…needless to say, after I found out I punched myself in the face (and ended up with a bloody nose), and finally hit that follow button on her blog. So, if you are reading this post now please accept my humble apologies for not following you sooner. And if you are someone who also had yet to discover/follow her blog do the same as me (that is hit the follow button, not the punching in the face part). So…what about Irina huh? What can I say about her that hasn’t already been said? How awesome she is? Well, you all already know that right? How supportive and incredibly strong a person she is? Naw, that’s also common knowledge. Maybe her being one of the most important people in the anime blogging community? Sigh…I give up. Everything has been said already. Suffice it to say Irina is totally bad ass, and although she will probably deny everything I said here, she knows in her heart that I am right. So, in the small chance you are not following her either yet, also hit that follow button. Right…so…on with the tag!. What this all about?
2. List 13reasons why you keep going/living (This is borrowed from the book but I’m taking it the opposite direction).
Well, see below if I managed to make it to 13 reasons.
3. Nominate 10 or more people to give their reasons why.
Whew…10 huh? Well…I will give it a try.
4. Use the picture that I created in your post. I’m sorry that I’m a bit bad a making these things… But I tried 🙂
Now then, on to the most important part of this tag, here are my 13 reasons to get up every morning, and go on with this crazy thing we call life:
1. My parents.
I am an only child, and come from a very small family. In fact it’s so small, that it’s just me and my folks. I could not have been blessed with better parents then the ones I have. Always supportive, caring, and giving, they are a very constant factor in my life.
2. My friends
Who can live without friends? People who say that they can are lying through their teeth. Everyone needs friends in his or her life, no matter how hard you might deny that fact. I don’t have a huge group of friends, but the ones I do have (and you pretty much know who you all are), are the best ones you can ask for. Always there for me when I go through a rough time (and vice versa), I have never taken them for granted in any way.
3. My blogging friends
Ever since I started this blog I have met people that have become an enormous and very important part of my life. Why mention these friends seperately? Because we might never meet in real life, but all the same they are just as wonderful as my normal friends (as far as we are all normal that is lol). Again, you all know who you are, but wow give yourself a big hug and a pat on the back, for the amount of kindness and love you have shown me is nothing short of amazing.
You probably did not see that one coming right? Seriously though, movies are very, very important to me. There is nothing better than to drift away for an hour or two in a different world in a movie theatre and forget all your troubles for a while. Movies, especially the good ones, can manage to lift my spirits when I am feeling down, or reach me on an emotional level in a way that almost nothing else can.
I started my blog a little over two years ago. At that point I did not really know what I was doing and I just posted randomly not even really following any blogs. But then I came across Karandi’s blog, (and seriously if you don’t know who she is, where have you been all these years), and I loved everything about it. Moreover through her writing she managed to rekindle my love for anime, something I had stopped watching for almost 5-6 years. Right now anime is another big part of my life, and someting I can’t stop watching anymore.
6. My blog
Well, this one is very obvious isn’t it? During my unfortunate, but necessary hiatus, I really felt a weird emptiness in me. Blogging had become a routine and it was very strange not reading posts, placing comments, and writing new posts. I have always said this: blogging is a huge part of my life, and I can’t see a future where I would stop blogging altogether. It’s great to be back and speak to everyone again.
Just like movies, books especially the well written ones, allow you to escape for a while into another reality. It’s great to dive into a book that will have you on the edge of your seat, especially after a tough day.
8. My job
Having a job in this day and age is not as obvious as one might think. Finding a job that you enjoy is even tougher. Even though my job is always very busy, and there are certain days that I could live without it (last friday being one of them), I certainly don’t hate my job. As you spent a big chunk of your life in the workplace, it’s definitely important to have something that you can sink your teeth in and offers a challenge.
9. Winter season
Yes, everyone is gearing up for summer now, and relieved to finally see the cold weather being a thing of the past. But…I am not one of them. I love the winterseason. The dark, cold days where you come home, crank up the heat or curl up in bed whatever suits you best, and watch a nice movie or read a good book. Everything about that season is just very cosy, and that’s why I love it so much.
10. Asian culture
As most of you that have been following my blog for a while now pretty much know, is that I simply love Asian culture. It’s a love that started for me when I was a child and continues to this day. Movies, anime, Korean dramas, it’s rich history, it’s customs: all those things have my interest and for me make it a culture that I highly respect and have a great fascination for.
Well, I am still single. And have been for a long, long time (please don’t cry or pity me, absolutely not necessary). But I am a hopeless romantic at heart. Though I feel the clock ticking as I become older, I have not yet given up total hope in finding miss right. It might even be the biggest cliche, but it’s so true: love usually does bring happyness. (Though admittedly it has also brought me a lot of sadness, but that last thing only makes you feel more alive doesn’t it?)
The best thing about a meal? Desserts! I can’t get enough them. A meal for me is not complete when I don’t get some kind of dessert to close it off. Even at lunch I try to get a cup of tasty yogurt or pudding when I get a chance to. Really, what’s not to love about desserts right?
I have always loved playing games. I don’t even care if I win (though of course that usually is even more fun if you manage to achieve a win), but playing the game is for me what’s most important. Whether it’s playing a solo game, or with some friends, the experience of a great boardgame is what always manages to put a smile on my face.
And….over to you.
Here you go: the ten people that I nominate for this tag:
This is not a tag that’s for everyone, so really don’t feel any pressure or need to write a post for this one. Nor is there any rush (Lord knows I am really running behind on tag posts/award nominations).
Thanks for reading as always: see you at the next post!