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Oct. 15th, 2016

You know how there are some fanvids that just perfectly capture all the feelings and thoughts you have about a show or character? That move you to tears or reveal something you didn't even realise you were thinking of about a character?
That are done so well that from then on you just automatically associate that character to that song?

This is one of those videos.

Mar. 1st, 2015

It's official. Miyu from Chase (see previous entry) is an annoying character. She comes from an affluent family, is spoiled and one track minded. I find myself too annoyed to be amused with her antics.

Humour in the manga currently comes from how hard Masato tries to avoid running into her and ignores any news Itsuki tells him about her. Masato still refuses to admit he has any secrets to tell her which means the harrassment continues.

I have no idea why I feel so apathetic about the plot. I think I feel as resigned as Masato does about Miyu's interference.

Chapter 2-4 super brief summariesCollapse )

There is some mention of Masato acting out of character? or having strange thoughts? and then questioning himself on why he feels or thinks that way. Also, he seems to have developed a Miyu-detecting ability in Chapter 4.

CHASE manga

You know you're in trouble when you suddenly decide to follow a serialised story from the very start. It means you have to wait (sometimes painfully) for every update. It's so new that no scanlation group has picked it up.

Cover page of Mr Gentle-Considerate-All-Round-Do-Gooder

CHASE by KANG Eun-Young (姜恩英)
http://www.square-enix.co.jp/magazine/yg/introduction/ (Chapter 1-4)

Summary:
Knowing that a doujin writer going by the pen name "Chloe" belongs to the Fantasy Fiction Studies Club in her high school, Yamashita Miyu (山下美優) wants to join the club. Her purpose of joining is not to write a novel but to learn the secret in "Chloe"'s novels!

Characters
Kobayashi Masato (小林雅人). High school freshman. A member of the Fantasy Fiction Studies Club.
Yamashita Miyu (山下美優). High school freshman. Wants to find doujin writer "Chloe".

[Source: Young Gangan]

Baka-Updates categorises it as Seinen but a Chinese comic website I found categorised it as either Shoujo or School.

FYI, I totally took the translations from Google, so I've no idea if the romanisations or translations are even accurate. A Fantasy Fiction Studies Club sounds awesome though. Also, hooray for generic titles, it sure was easy finding information on this manga among all the other results for the keyword "chase".*sarcasm*


Rough summary of chapter 1Collapse )


I'm actually quite surprised that the first four chapters are already available for viewing on the official Young Gangan website when only the first chapter seems to be out in print. Is this normal practice?
Not that it helps me because I don't understand Japanese. I found a Chinese translation for the first chapter and so have to wait with bated breath for further chapters to be in print like everyone else.

The coloured spread for chapter 2 has Miyu and Masato handcuffed together while staring into the distance. If that is not evidence that Miyu has some kind of brain condition, I don't know what is... It also happens to be the background image (see below) for the CHASE introduction website.
Chasebg
This would be romantic if you hadn't forcibly handcuffed me.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Someone I was following recommended this series. So I picked up the trilogy and and finished it over the weekend.

I am so displeased.

[My feelings, they are wounded]The first book was fun, really really fun. It gave me the exhilaration of discovering a new world. A world where magic is performed by summoning and enslaving spirits from the Other World. The enslavement bit reminded me a bit of Eli Monpress' world. Details I liked were like magicians needing to forget their birth names to prevent it from becoming a weakness. As a result, apprentices are only adopted and given official names and magicians are not allowed to have their own children. Bartimaeus, the djinni, gave excellent commentary reminiscent of Terry Prachett's style, and his frequent snark when dealing with opponents and self-praise was entertaining. I sympathised and at equal times felt irritated by his master, Nathaniel. I found myself rooting for him to be honourable so although the ending was not ideal, it gave me hope.

In the second book, I was so often frustrated by the Nathaniel's actions and motivations that I had to check the end to be sure that he actually made it to the end alive. And then I had to read the third book right away because I could not bear seeing a protagonist being so thoroughly corrupted by the world he lived in. The part where Bartimaeus called him Mandrake just left me cold. 

And the third book, the ending left me so so so I can't describe it. It was the same gut-wrenching shock and denial I felt on completing the end of The Hunger Games. The optimist in me just wails at it. Upset just doesn't even begin describe it. I was given HOPE, HOPE that Nathaniel may be redeemed. And the book gave me this. Ok, it was a bit slow in giving me that hope. I inwardly cheered whenever he succeeded in acting against his ambition. There was also another story running parallel to the main events to give us an insight to Bartimaeus' backstory. I may also have teared up a few times throughout the whole book at specific moments, that was how poignant the moments were. I guess I am just a fan of happy endings. I mean, I sort of knew what the ending would be, (there was just so much foreshadowing and many parallels were drawn between the past and present) but to read it, it felt so final. Strangely I also accept that this was the most fitting ending, heartrendingly so. Nathaniel's dismissal (indirect way of showing his respect and care) and the last lines by Bartimaeus, just kills me.

[The potent lines (Spoiler)]
A typical master. Right to the end, he didn’t give me a chance to get a word in edgeways. Which is a pity, because at that last moment I’d have liked to tell him what I thought of him. Mind you, since in that split second we were, to all intents and purposes, one and the same, I rather think he knew anyway.
Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud (Book Three of the Bartimaeus Trilogy)


Aside from that, I was very pleased with Kitty's (yet another protagonist who is NOT a magician, hurrah) development. Her will to just "not die", it was awesome.



And I have just managed to describe a lot of blustery emotions and said almost nothing about what this series is about.

And now I have an image that Nathaniel looked like hapless John from Pocahantas in the first book, like Snape in the second book, and maybe like Sherlock in the third book.

Xi Xiang Ji 西厢记


Xi Xiang Ji 西厢记(美人)/ The History of the West Wing
Story: Sun Jiayu      Art: Guo Guo
Wow, the art in this Chinese graphic novel is ridiculously pretty. It helps that every page is in full colour. Cover image above links to a preview of the book. There's an English version by Yen Press though.

It's yet another adaptation of Wang Shifu's classic Chinese play Xixiang Ji/ Story of the Western Wing, but it's just so incredibly pretty.


For the fun of it, I went and looked up other illustrated versions of the story and found the following:

Wang Shu Hui (1963), this won her a National Prize in Comic Writing
  - http://www.iibq.com/comic/8201213573/ (Mandarin)

Artist unknown,  a series of fully coloured paintings with text added on later.
  - http://www.china-on-site.com/pages/comic/comiccatalog6.php (English)
  - Part 1 | Part 2 (Mandarin)

Cao Juren (1998), the simplicity of the black and white illustrations accompanying the text is quite charming.
  - http://ishare.iask.sina.com.cn/f/12072676.html (Mandarin, links to a pdf file)



Nggh. Spent 3 hours on this. Self-control much.
Okay, so I finally read Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. And I need closure.

Someone please write me or point me the way of a coda that
[Spoiler (click to open)]has Estraven's order of banishment lifted. And that his family be able to mourn his death with pride.


I don't deal with downer endings very well.
That is all.

Les Miserables 2012

Anyway, I finally got round to watching Les Miserables (2012). I had already been mentally prepared and came in with low expectations but lo, I really enjoyed it.

Random impressions...Collapse )

Jan. 25th, 2013

I have just discovered the music genre called "folk rock". AND Mumford & Sons. The guitar tabs are AMAZING. Am now looking up all their songs.

Discovered thanks to this brilliant video dedication "grace & choice" by youtube user Deductism.

Roger Allam as Javert

So I find out that Roger Allam from Cabin Pressure used to sing Javert's role in the Les Miserables Original London Cast. I recall thinking whenever he broke into song in Cabin Pressure that he should be singing in musicals, turns out that he was!

And so this!
Allam's version of Stars. Disappointed that it's different from the current version, it doesn't end with "This I swear by the Stars.." which reaffirms Javert's intention to find Valjean.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYsf0unZS1k

Allam's version of Javert's soliloquy (suicide) song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXuIFfsEsZA

Allam is awesome! He makes Javert sound too British though? It could be an effect of my having heard Phillip Quast as Javert first. I'm biased towards the first version I hear, so Phillip Quast will always be Javert for me (I love how he changes his tone for "Lord let me find him" in Stars, which is missing from Allam's version so maybe not a very fair comparison but oh well). It's the same way why Michael Crawford will always be the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera to me. Regardless of who sings the song though, my heart still twists for Javert whenever I hear his soliloquy.

So now I'm addicted to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries AND have become fond of hedgehogs. This is all Sib's fault. :)

Need to find productive work. Guh. The one productive thing I've done today was to get registered at the post office and make an "important" online purchase. Ok, make that two things. But still, whut.

Also, playing You Set Me Free on replay