A Long-Expected Hiatus

There comes a time when a blogger must take a break–when blogging becomes a chore instead of a joy.  I’ve reached that point, and have even felt the stirrings of animus towards anime.  Last season, I only finished three shows.  This season in particular strikes me as odiously mediocre, though I’ll heartily endorse Aho Girl.  The series occasionally pushes the envelop too far in regard to the humor driven off sex, but it’s genuinely funny.

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Berserk’s Occult Theme

Before I get into why I dropped Berserk, let me talk a little bit about a fantasy series I used to enjoy: The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  I really enjoyed the struggles of Richard Rahl, the Mother Confessor Kahlan, and the Wizard Zedd.  Like Berserk, it had some unsavory moments–some very unsavory moments indeed.  Yet, I felt that the great storytelling outweighed the bad.

Steaming Guts

 

Then, I ran into Goodkind’s full-blown Objectivist philosophy in book eight, The Naked Empire.  Few moments in my reading life have depressed me as much as Richard Rahl inveighing against self-sacrifice as an evil.  Apparently, people should always act in their self-interest, and any sacrifice of one’s self-interest is immoral.  Never mind that the heroes frequently risk their lives and suffer quite a lot.  Also, many good people had sacrificed their lives for good causes by this point in the series, and the fantasy world’s universe includes God, who no doubt rewards the righteous.  The idea of self-sacrifice being a moral evil simply did not compute in my mind.  Despite having read 6,454 pages of Goodkind’s work–the equivalent of reading War and Peace about four and a half times, I put down the series and never picked it back up again.

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Wishing You a Happy Independence Day!

I just wanted to wish all of my dear readers a happy Independence Day!  Please, enjoy the video put out today by the channel Lord Drako Arakis.  He has some great anime sketches set to old military songs and sea shanties.  His sketches for “The Invalid Corps” are perfect!

Tomorrow, check out the blog Beneath the Tangles in order to check out which show surprised me the most this season and which was my favorite.

No One is Saved Alone: Farnese’s Journey to Virtue

Too few articles have come from me in the past month, my dear readers.  My hope is that July will prove more fruitful as I renew my acquaintance with my favorite religious writers and essayists–G. K. Chesterton in particular.

May you enjoy the post linked to below, which touches on some interesting issues present in Berserk (2017)!

No One is Saved Alone: Farnese’s Journey to Virtue

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Lovely Blog Award from Jiraiyan

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I’ve put off writing the acceptance posts for a few awards, and today seems a good day to rectify that.  My thanks goes to Jiraiyan of Otaku Orbit for nominating me.  Be sure to pay his blog a visit!  Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself
  3. Nominate at most 15 people
  4. Tell your nominees the good news!

Here are my seven facts.  Chances are that I have mentioned a few in awards posts before, but I hope that they shall be new to you.

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On My Time Reading Rurouni Kenshin

A reader requested that I review some volumes of the Rurouni Kenshin manga.  At present, I’ve almost finished the series and can almost review the antepenultimate volume of the series–i.e. volume twenty-six.  (Yes, I could not resist using the word antepenultimate.)  Now appears a good moment to look back on the series and why I enjoy it so much.  This manga is such a delight that I obtained the complete series in the original language in order to translate it from the original.

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After reading the first two volumes in English, I purchased all of the tankobun volumes.  I must say that the level of Japanese stood far above Inuyasha, which counted as my first exposure to manga and even to translating foreign works.  (Later, I would read Latin poetry, but it required three years of high school Latin before I started reading excerpts of Classical literature.  Conversely, two months of Japanese sufficed for me to plunge into Inuyasha.)  With Rurouni Kenshin, I soon developed a fear of running into boxes of historical digression written in kanji.  Having watched the anime previously, some of the long monologues were much easier to deal with; but, in Rurouni Kenshin, unlike in Inuyasha, most of the fight is cerebral.  Cases where one can sit back and admire pages of action with interjections here and there are seldom found in the pages of Rurouni Kenshin.

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A Fantasy Novel by Yours Truly

Here, I’m going to try my hand at marketing–again.  As you see from the title, my dear readers, I’ve self-published a fantasy novel–a medieval, military, fantasy, adventure novel to be more precise.  The roots of this novel lie in an old manuscript I created at seventeen years of age and completed at nineteen.  The tome, dubbed Ketil’s Saga, stretched for over three hundred Word Document pages, was written in a pompous and abstruse style, and contains one of the most meandering plots never to have been inflicted on the public.  I dream of one day polishing it enough to be presentable trilogy; but, writing a new story set within the same world seems an easier proposition.

All Man’s Clotted Clay might be a familiar title, since this book was submitted to Athanatos Christian Ministries’ 2015 Novel Contest and made the semi-finals.  As such, it has received extensive editing by one of the contest judges and by yours truly–so much so that I developed a disgust for revising it and an irresistible urge to bring it before the reading public.  All Man’s Clotted Clay is set three hundred years before the events of the unpublished Ketil’s Saga.  It concerns the struggle of a heroic pikeman to win the love of his life and defeat the enemies of his country.  (What can I say?  I love romances of this sort–the medieval kind–and am even reading one such tale now: St. George for England by G. A. Henty.)

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Ajin: an Anime with No Good Guys

I just finished watching Ajin and absolutely loved it.  If I had watched that show last year, it would have headed my “Top Five Anime of 2016.”  Ajin gets five stars from me and places sixteenth on my top fifty list–right in between Princess Tutu and Fullmetal Alchemist.  (It was sad to see Solty Rei dropped from the list, but it had to be.  Now, Pumpkin Scissors is hanging on precariously at #50.)  One of the more interesting points about this series lies in how many grey areas can be found within it.  The bad guys are easy to pick out: Mr. Sato and the Japanese government.  (For all intents and purposes, the United States government is as evil as the Japanese government; though, the role of the U.S. is much smaller in this series.)  Other person in this series align with either Sato or the Japanese governments depending on their interests.  Kei Nagai wishes to live in peace, and sees Mr. Tosaki as his best ally in this regard–Miss Shimomura is no different.  The Ajin allied with Sato want the same rights as other citizens and see Sato as their best bet in obtaining these rights.

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Watch Ajin in German?

A friend of mine has been extolling the virtues of Ajin for a long time now.  At last, I decided to give this Netflix Original a shot.  Prior to this, I had watched Kuromukuro on Netflix and played around with the language options.  (As my dear readers know, I love foreign languages.)  The German voice actors performed decently–not that well, but it interested me enough to give the German dub of Ajin a shot from the very first episode.

Ajin Intro

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Medieval Book Review: Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

Most of you have not heard of this historical novel of Mark Twain’s; yet, he regarded it as his best work.  In his own words, “I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none.”  Mark Twain is known as something of a humorist, and many humorists see the dark side of life and turn to humor as a way to cope with it.  For example, many people know that Twain often wrote to underscore the injustice of Southern society towards blacks–both before and after the Civil War.  Twain loved fairness and justice above all, and these things shone yet more gloriously when painted against a background of villainy.

PRSJOA

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Rating the Anime of Winter 2017

There were three anime left out from my reviews at Beneath the Tangles.  Also, I’ll give a couple of bonus reviews at the end, one of which is old school and the other very modern.  Let’s begin without further ado!

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1) Chaos; Child – ★★1/2

As a fan of Chaos; Head, his show rather disappointed me.  If not for the final episode, it might have been given two stars instead.  There is plenty of meaning to be found in that final episode.  But, the mystery and character relationships, save between Takuru and Nono, struck me as very bland indeed.  Overall, the show comes off as a sadistic dating game.

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New Anime Streaming Site: Anime Bananas

The founder of a new site for streaming anime contacted me to take a look at his site, Anime Bananas, and possibly write reviews for him.  The question of Anime Bananas legitimacy came up on the Crunchyroll Forums.  As evidence for its legitimacy, one can’t find fansub versions of anime on the site, and the founder has agreements with the anime providers he connects to.  Let me talk about the benefits of Anime Bananas and a couple of its drawbacks below.

Anime Bananas

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Happy Easter to All!

Happy Easter, my dear readers!  Christus resurrexit!  Resurrexit sicut dixit!  Alleluia!  Today, we celebrate Christ’s double victory over sin and death, a share of which victory Christ offers to all humanity.  Though we are yet troubled by sin in this life, we shall one day cease to offend God and men and no longer be troubled by the effects of human wickedness in ourselves and others.  Though we all shall die, death has been transformed into the entrance to life illimitable.  How great the reward, and how little God asks of us!  Even if our malice, weakness, and ignorance frequently cause us to fall short of God’s commands, repentance continually brings us ever closer to God despite many falls.

Christus resurrexit

Recently, I made the happy discovery of another “Dante class anime”: Blood Blockade Battlefront.  (See the page Anime for Christians for a description of “Dante class anime.”)  Many who have seen this anime might thinks that monsters are the only thing Blood Blockade Battlefront has in common with The Divine Comedy.  But, Christian themes are intentionally used throughout the show.  I was first alerted to the possibility of this when Mary MacBeth says that people commit the same wrongs they did two thousand years ago when Christ came to earth.

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BnT’s Winter 2017 Reviews

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Beneath the Tangles recently finished their reviews of anime from the Winter 2017 season.  Three of my own reviews on Onihei, Chain Chronicle, and Little Witch Academia can be found among them.  I’ve watched a few other shows this season and hope to write reviews of them and three older anime this weekend.  (I’ve been painfully busy this month until now.)  Please like and leave comments on the posts below!  Enjoy!

Winter Anime 2017 Review (Part 1/3) – Onihei

Winter Anime 2017 Review (Part 2/3) – Chain Chronicle

Winter Anime 2017 Review (Part 3/3) – Little Witch Academia