Medieval Otaku Says “Saraba ja!”

Well, my dear readers, it’s time for me to take another break from blogging here.  Also, my column “Examining Light Novels” on Beneath the Tangles will be put on hold for the time being; though, I intend to write one article for their “Twelve Days of Christmas” series.  It’s a shame that this hiatus comes before the end of National Blog Posting Month, but so be it.  Medieval Otaku will return at some point in January.  In the meantime, I might write some articles on my two other blogs which I have neglected in favor of this one in order to keep the writing muscles in shape.

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Saraba ja or Saraba da is an antiquated Japanese term for good-bye which I learned recently.  The closest expression in English is “Godspeed!” and the Spanish “Adios!” might be even closer in meaning.  Apparently, the samurai used to wish each other good-bye with Saraba ja, and, if blogs are to be believed, it’s Buddhist in derivation and wishes “eternal wisdom” on the addressee.  (Kodansha’s Essential Kanji Dictionary gives the kanji in the valediction two meanings “yes” for zen pronunciation and “nature” for nen, but I am certain this is not exhaustive.)

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Happy Thanksgiving and saraba ja!

The Black Cat Takes A Stroll

A great review of a flawed book. Stephen King says that aspiring authors should read bad books now and then to build confidence that one can get published, and this book sounds perfect for that.

Contemporary Japanese Literature

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Title: The Black Cat Takes a Stroll: The Edgar Allan Poe Lectures
Japanese Title: 黒猫の遊歩あるいは美学講義 (Kuroneko no yūho arui wa bigaku kōgi)
Author: 森 晶麿 (Mori Akimaro)
Translator: Ian M. MacDonald
Publication Year: 2016 (America); 2011 (Japan)
Publisher: Bento Books
Pages: 146

Let me preface my review of The Black Cat Takes a Stroll by saying that this book is misogynistic pseudo-intellectual garbage.

I’ve tried to keep my tone sane and reasonable, but I don’t want to mislead anyone into wasting their time reading about something that celebrates notions of male dominance and superiority. If you know this sort of thing won’t appeal to you, it’s probably best to skip this review.

The Black Cat Takes a Stroll is a collection of short horror-themed mystery stories centered around “the Black Cat,” a genius 24-year-old professor. The narrator is a first-year PhD student specializing in Western literature. She became…

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Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 9 Sub/Dub Comparison

Fiddletwix puts up some great sub vs. dub comparisons. This post on episode 9 of Tokyo New Mew is no exception. You’ll be surprised at what the dub took out or flat out changed.

The Anime Madhouse

tmmep9stitle Anime: Because where else can you get a massage from two monkeys in a hot spring?

Plot: Lettuce wins a free trip to a luxurious resort and brings the other mews along for a much needed vacation. However, they find a boy named Aoyamada who looks exactly like Aoyama and has a rough first confrontation with the girls. They soon find out that the free pass to the resort is dated for next year and the resort hasn’t even been built yet, but it’s well into the process. Aoyamada is hell bent on stopping the construction, but things get more complicated when Kisshu decides to use the boy’s pure spirit to make a chimera animal.

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(I apologize that these screencaps are lower quality than I’ve been putting out. I can’t find a copy of the cleaner version. If anyone can point me to a better quality copy, please tell…

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On Graphic Content in Fiction

Yesterday, in reponse to my latest reblog, a few of my friends brought up that Perfect Blue has some scenes that are plain hard to watch.  Another said that I should warn people about the nudity, sexual violence, bloody violence, and vulgarity contained therein.  That last request I hesitated to meet, but here is my content warning for Perfect Blue: it has bloody and brutal murders, a lingerie/swimsuit photoshoot which turns pornographic, a rather disturbing simulated rape scene, and an infamous masturbation scene.  (N. B. The last is non-explicit enough that one might not realize what’s going on–if memory serves me right–in that five second scene.)  There you have the worst content in the movie.  The question now occurs to me of why was I so loath to write about these details and even angry that they were brought up in regard to Perfect Blue?

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Inkling Movie Review: Perfect Blue

Inkling Infornography

At any moment throughout the day, do you ever think about what distinguishes fantasy from reality? What you perceive with your eyes, hear with your ears, touch with your fingertips, the smell of the fragrance of your surroundings, are those real? You can experience all these sensations in a reverie or a vision. So, what sets them apart from one another? If the dream world suddenly begins to feel like more than just a simple caricature of your inner thoughts and feelings, how would you discern the difference of what’s real and what’s not? For today’s Inkling Movie Review, I will be focusing on Perfect Blue.

Perfect Blue is the directorial debut of Satoshi Kon, who sadly passed away in 2010. It’s a nerve-racking psychological thriller that showcases a more foreboding and nightmarish view on Japan’s pop idol music industry, which is often romanticized in anime and seen…

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Moments of Crazy Anime Originality

We all got into anime because of the unique stories and scenarios offered by the medium.  Still, moments of originality become harder to come across the more anime one watches.  I just came across one of these moments of originality while watching Heavy Object of all things.  This is the series that nearly drove iblessall mad with how ridiculous it was.  The first five episodes are terrible, and the fanservice often becomes uncomfortable.  Why did I stick with it beyond those first five episodes of stupidity?  I liked the man vs. machine and buddy soldiers facets of the story, and it certainly made me laugh as it provided a good dose of action.

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The fun factor counts as the most important reason behind me never actually dropping the anime.  (My watching of it has frequently stalled.)  Last night, my decision to continue watching the show felt completely vindicated when I turned to a friend and said:

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Two of the best psychological anime!

Marvelously Mismatched

Image result for Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte -the maxim-)

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte -the maxim-)

Parasitic aliens have descended from space to feed on the brains of weak-willed humans. Somehow, Shinichi Izumi has avoided turning into an alien-zombie by keeping his parasitic hitchhiker from entering his brain, instead keeping it contained in his hand. Now the two have to work together to survive. This brutal horror series sounds like a typical thriller, but its focus on human nature over cheap thrills catapult it into position as one of the best psychological anime. Summary from My anime list.

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Death Parade

Welcome to the afterlife. Have a seat at the bar, and let’s play a game. That’s the message that greets the newly deceased in Death Parade. How someone performs in a game determines whether they get a second chance in life, or a one-way ticket south of heaven. Whether the game is bowling or hockey, the results end up…

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Cardinal Zen’s plea to Vatican: accepting China’s ‘fake bishops’ would ‘destroy the Church’

Cardinal Joseph Zen in St Peter's Square (AP) Cardinal Joseph Zen in St Peter’s Square (AP)

From the Staff Reporter on THE CATHOLIC HERALD

Cardinal Zen said the Vatican’s plan would be a ‘surrender’

Cardinal Joseph Zen, China’s most senior cleric, has made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Vatican to call off its agreement with China.

A deal between Rome and Beijing, in which the Vatican will acknowledge state-appointed bishops, is reported to be near. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cardinal Zen calls the plan “unacceptable” and a “surrender”.

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) was established under Mao Zedong as a state-run replacement for the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was driven underground by persecution and Catholics remain marginalised, hidden and frequently persecuted.

The Vatican has long been hostile to the CCPA and regarded its bishops as illegitimate. But according to recent reports, the Vatican could soon accept four CCPA-appointed bishops…

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A Brief Introspection on Remembrance Day

Great Post for Veterans or Remembrance Day. It’s easy to forget that Canada contributed significantly to both World Wars. The one film which comes to mind which documents the courage of Canadians in the Second World War is “The Devil’s Brigade.” A great film, which I encourage all my dear readers to watch. So, here’s to all veterans this day, and an especial thanks to our neighbors to the north for standing with us on so many critical occasions!

The Infinite Zenith

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

— Ed McCurdy, Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

A century ago, Europe was deep into the First World War; the French recaptured most of Saillisel and repulsed a German attack at Deniecourt. In the Egyptian theatre, British forces launched air raids on Beersheba and Maghdaba. Seven days later, the Battle of the Somme, which began in July 1, 1916, came to an end. Marking the first time tanks were used in warfare, the Battle of the Somme also saw contributions from the Canadian armed forces: in September of 1916, they participated in operations to recapture the hamlet of Courcelette, repelling German forces repeatedly. Sustained artillery shelling and effort from Canadians eventually drove the Germans back, marking a victory at the cost of 24049 Canadian soldiers. By 1917, the…

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Reblog: The Inevitable Fight Against Evil – And Vampires

 

Here is a great post about vampires and fighting evil.  Josh W explorers Christian themes within video games for Beneath the Tangles.  The articles on his personal blog, Res Studiorum et Ludorum, contains posts on many subjects ranging from anime and movies to science fiction and religion.  Please check out the post linked to below!

The Inevitable Fight Against Evil – And Vampires

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Izetta: The Last Witch – Episode 6: On a Quiet Day

A Journey Through Life

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Izetta has not failed to deliver so far, and the intrigue is starting to match that of a military/political thriller. But let’s be fair, it can be written as such. I wonder if the source material has been licensed and translated to English. I’m already starting to collect the source material for Black Bullet as well as Log Horizon, I might as well add another one.

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Anime and Answering Our Call – Choosing Truth or Myth

An excellent post on stories and how even anime possesses the same paradigms found in myth. This might be the first time I’ve seen Joseph Campbell mentioned in a blog post.

Otaku in My Veins

The Hero’s Journey archetype has influenced our culture more then we realize. This isn’t just seen in our culture, but every single culture, people group, tribe in the world. And in my opinion, most of the otaku community. Humanity is connected to each and every individual God created because of our deep love of story telling and myth making. The deepest cries of our hearts all sound the same. These cries are the constant search for truth and they are heard through story telling of marvelous heroes and journeys far and wide into the world.

Ancient stories such as the Odyssey, King Arthur, and Jonah and the whale all have a common formula. Modern stories like Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, Naruto, Bleach, Noragami, One Piece, Fairy Tail, and so many others reuse that formula for a new audience. The first part of that formula…

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Genkina hito in Akihabara

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Akihabara – this is a long and rambling post so feel free to just look at the pictures. If you’re feeling brave you can listen to this music while you read:

Akihabara (Electric Town as it’s also known) is billed as the electronics and nerd-culture centre of Japan. If you like anime, manga, computers, video games, cameras or any other types of electronic and otaku goods then this is the area that you need to visit. I have been aware of it since at least my high school years when I heard of its legendary collection of video game and anime goods. I had pictured a densely packed warren of streets containing arcade dens full of herds of video game nerds clustered around classic beat-em-up game cabinets while anime fans pored through second-hand book stores and cute guys and gals cosplayed colourful anime characters and the scene was complete with…

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Shelter: Reflections On A Collaborative Music Video Between Porter Robinson and A-1 Pictures

A nice and detailed review of Shelter. This very short anime is worth watching if only for the beauty of the animation, but it has a tragic beauty as well.

The Infinite Zenith

“Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.” —Don Tapscott

Shelter is a six-minute short that illustrates a small section of seventeen year-old Rin’s life in a simulated reality. Although her life is one of infinite tranquility, it is also an immensely lonely experience. As she creates worlds through a tablet, the simulator gradually exposes Rin’s own memories: she was seven when a moon-sized celestial body is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. Her father, Shigeru, constructs a spacecraft to preserve Rin’s life, while making the most of their remaining time on Earth together. Despite its short length, Shelter is quite haunting: this effect is a consequence of…

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Drosselmeyer Tea

A little detail caught my attention in Princess Tutu: Drosselmeyer favors a blend of tea he apparently made himself.  It consists of three parts Darjeeling and one part Assam.  Those of you who’ve followed this blog a long time know me for a tea connoisseur–at least, I am when I can afford to be.  One of the earliest posts on this blog was on Kakuzo Okakura’s The Book of Tea.  I’m a big fan of tea varietals but will drink blends also, especially English, Scotch, or Irish Breakfast tea.  English Breakfast tea is formed by Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas, Irish is stronger because it uses teas from Assam almost exclusively, and Scottish the strongest with the strongest varieties from Asia–even sometimes adding the pine-fired Lapsang Souchong.

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A New Addition to my Top 50 & Four Other Shows

As you can tell from the title, one of the five shows below got a rare five stars from me.  Keen readers of my anime posts might have an inkling of which anime made it to my top fifty.  Let me start from the bottom and work my way up.

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5) Kuromukuro

This show is not on the bottom because I don’t like it, but because I haven’t finished it.  One never knows whether the second half of the show will ruin a promising start.

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As of episode ten, the show appears to shine in three areas: the fight scenes, the animation, and the comedy.  I greatly enjoy the samurai’s cultural shock as he experiences modern life in Japan.  The sword fights surprise me with their realism: both within and without the mecha.  (I think that I caught a glissade during one bout.)  And the animation draws one in by sharp details and beautiful backgrounds.

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Patema Inverted, Psycho-Pass the Movie, and Vampire Princess Miyu OVA

Looking at my list of anime to write about, I noticed that five of them are series and the other three shorter works.  And so, I am writing about Patema InvertedPsycho-Pass the Movie, and Vampire Princess Miyu here and the other five tomorrow.  Two anime yesterday, three today, and five tomorrow: you can see that I’m trying to ease myself into National Blog Posting Month.  As usual, let’s see how long I last without resorting to a reblog.

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1) Vampire Princess Miyu OVA – ★★★ 1/2

Watching this OVA reminded me of the good old days when anime DVDs included only two or three episodes a disc.  This four part OVA came on two discs, and I was scratching my head as to why they could not fit all four episodes on the same disc.  I loved the old cell animation employed in this series, which has been lauded for the traditional style of the artwork.  Everything from the dark scenes to the music to the creepy characters worked to envelop the viewer into the mood of this eldritch tale.

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Our titular character, Miyu, happens to be tasked with the goal of sending Shinma–creatures half-god and half-demon (all demon, if you want my opinion)–back into the netherworld from which they came.  A female exorcist named Himiko becomes involved with Miyu during the failed exorcism of a fox demon from a comatose young girl.  Will Himiko survive her acquaintance with Miyu and her henchman Larva, and what is the mysterious link between the vampire and this young exorcist?

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Forgotten Summer 2016 Anime Reviews

Happy All Saints’ Day and first day of NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo–whichever you prefer to undertake.  I’ll be undertaking the latter.  The challenge for National Blog Posting Month is to post once per diem for the month of November.  Usually, I get through with a combination of original articles and reblogs.  So, you just might see a post of yours up on Medieval Otaku this month.🙂  At the same time, my reading challenge on Goodreads shows that I need to finish fifteen more books, i.e. I need to read about two books a week until the end of the year–sounds doable.

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It occurred to me that I never linked my summer anime reviews on Beneath the Tangles to this blog.  That was remiss of me, and here they are: Alderamin on the Sky, Active Raid, Berserk, and Sweetness and Lightning.  That season, I also had the pleasure of finishing 91 Days and ReLife, which went unremarked upon.  Below, I hope to correct my overlooking of them.

Enjoy!

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