My Writing as a Hurricane

Well, dear readers, the lack of inspiration hitting me at the moment has caused me to ponder the ingredients in my writing style.  Why aren’t the juices flowing?  These thoughts and Froggy-kun’s article How Does Anime Influence Your Writing Style have engendered this article.  I have decided that the perfect metaphor for my writing is the hurricane.

Now, this is not the kind which destroyed New Orleans, but something of restorative value which is popular there: the fruity, tropical cocktail which my sister chides me for imbibing.  I needed to pick this cocktail because my usual choices are far too simple: a gin and tonic, a salty dog, a martini, a manhattan, a negroni, or a scotch and soda contain too few ingredients.  (I listed these just to show you that I do usually tend to masculine side of the cocktail spectrum.)  The complexity of the hurricane seems to capture each facet of my writing without exceeding the number of ingredients–as would be the case in the Original Singapore Sling.  (I really want to order that one day!  Probably annoy the bartender unless he’s on the order of Ryuu Sasakura of Bartender.)  Here’s the recipe:

I prefer the Bacardi 8 year old myself.

I prefer the Bacardi 8 year old myself.

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#10 Stephen King

Here’s a post from my fledgling blog on literature and history written by my good friend, the author of Dusty Thanes. We’re writing articles on our top ten novelists in a series. This article is particularly well written. I hope that you enjoy it.

My friend has gone first because I have a little writer’s block. Expect an article on Ernest Hemingway from me before Friday.

Aquila et Infans

I do think that my selection of Stephen King is the most aggravating to my friend Medieval Otaku. I have empathy for the belief that King is merely a shock and vomit author who sells because people like watching horrible things happen to people. However, I contend that there are three distinct Stephen Kings. Stephen King (B) is every bad thing that M. Otaku thinks. King (B) is the author of books of nihilistic violence like Cujo and creepy horror stories that, though awesome horror stories, are in no way worthy of a top ten list (Pet Sematary comes to mind).

The next King I will mention is (C). King (C) comes last chronologically (I think). King (C) is the ‘literary elephantiasis’ that King admits he suffers from, but left unchecked. King (C) also has a high probability of being at least partially ghost written. King (C) is over-enthusiastic about…

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Last TV Anime With Physical Cels Making Digital Transition

This is some pretty cool news. I had not known that there was an anime series still using cells. Sazae-san is one of the longest running shows ever made. It started in 1969 and is the longest running anime series with a whopping 2,250 episodes!

Lesley's Anime and Manga Corner

Anime News Network is reporting that the Sazae-san television anime will be making the change from cels, the transparent sheets on which animation frames are drawn, to digital production in October 2013.

Their report mentions that according to the Association of Japanese Animation, Sazae-san was the only anime left on the air that used hand-drawn cel animation. With the series moving to digital production, there will be no television anime left still using cel animation.

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Potential Allies

This is a very thorough article essentially on the objective view of reality vs. a subjective one and how this matters for religion. The author is a very good friend of mine and writes excellent articles with a good sense of humor.

The Dusty Thanes

The post-modern ‘proof’ of existence seems to me to be a truncated form of Descartes. Descartes started with what he knew you could know: that, in fact, some thing ‘I’ can think. He then proceeded to prove that I was an existence, and then that God must exist. Then since God exists, everything that ‘I’ observe exists at least somewhat like ‘I’ observe it. This framework is far more subjective than I would posit, however it is a usable framework for thinking and living. I made a graph after the nature of reaction profiles. (If you have had some chemistry, you may recognize the format.) As you proceed from left to right you are following the case for the worldview and as you go up, importance increases.Untitled-1Let us contrast that to a post-modern fully subjective worldview is like.Untitled-1aThis latter figure is the new worldview. This worldview has several…

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Freezing Zero: Carrying Gender Reversal Too Far?

If any of you remember my post from that series of chain posts in the summer of last year, you’ll remember that I gave Freezing as an example of how ecchi can turn people away or cause them to dislike a solid show under question five.  (At least, I consider Freezing a solid show.  For an accurate review from someone who disagrees, click here.)  I consider myself an avid fan of both the show and the manga.  This is despite the fact that I often find myself skipping pages: for all my fears that I might be missing out on character development, it is possible to see too much of the character!  The characters are unusually likable and complex.  The grim and lethal fighting constantly make me fear lest any of my favorites are lost–even though surprisingly few of the main characters are killed in action.

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One thing which lends particular interest to the series is gender reversal.  Young men are limited to a support role and are less bellicose and concerned about honor than their female counterparts–which, if one remembers the Spartan mother’s pithy command: “This or on this,” might indeed reflect reality in certain societies.  Their female counterparts, Pandoras, serve as warriors against an alien invader and have an iron-bound sense of honor and esprit de corps.  Until now, I held this arrangement to be unique and tragic, but reading Freezing Zero, a spin-off of the main comic, has shocked me with its boot camp chapters.  Here I was, thinking that gym classes, martial arts training, tournaments, and instructional courses sufficed to transform a young woman into a Nova-killing machine.  But, a boot camp of U. S. Marine-level hardship exists for this purpose.  The instructor even strikes her trainees and physically torments them!

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As one who believes that even male trainees ought not to be struck, these chapters proved too cruel for me to read.  After all, the discipline of extra duty, punitive exercises, public shame, peer pressure, and reprimands suffices to punish infractions in the greatest military in the world.  Seeing women beaten–maybe even especially if by another woman–generates a feeling of horror and perversity.  Women are supposed to symbolize gentleness, beauty, civility, and compassion after all.  On the other hand, if this were a male instructor dealing blows upon men, I would find his conduct tyrannical; but, the feelings of horror and perversity would be absent.

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I suppose that this lies in the nature of men to strive after physical courage and hence endure blows, while the nature of women aligns itself with enforcing the norms of decency.  Indeed, the very idea of women being beaten impresses itself on the mind as the violation of the sacred.  One can understand men as fighting barbarity from without, women as fighting it from within, and thus both preserving civilization as a whole.  Some would say that I’m a sexist reactionary holding defunct mores from the past.  I say that exponents of feminism (Or perhaps I should say extreme feminism?  After all, what kind of man thinks that women ought to be relegated to a second class position in society?) sacrifice the nature of both masculinity and femininity to their idol of equality, which constantly sees female repression by their male counterparts.  Reading certain opinions makes one wonder if they think that God made a mistake in creating two sexes.

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The preceding remarks point out that men and women are complimentary not congruent.  There are certain roles which one side is more capable of doing than the other, and only an arrogant ideologue or bigot would despise the other for its incapacity.

Anyway, I shall still read and watch Freezing, because the characters are so lovable and the action so thrilling.  The scenario indulges in fantasy, but if it were necessary to save the human race by using young women as battlefield infantry, the scenario would need to be dire indeed.  One cannot but imagine that it should change the entire face of humanity and even lead to the abolition of mankind as we know it.

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Nominated for the WordPress Family Award

I’m surprised and honored to have the pleasure of being nominated for the WordPress Family Award by MIB of MIB’s Instant Headache.  Be sure to follow his blog as he writes thorough reviews of excellent quality on foreign films and anime. 

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Here are the rules for the nomination:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family
4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them
5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people that have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

With the first two steps completed here are my nominees:

Angry Jellyfish

Marlin-sama of Ashita no Anime

TWWK of Beneath the Tangles

GoodbyeNavi of Black Strawberry

Nami of The Budding Philosopher

D. M. Dutcher of Cacao, Put down the Shovel!

thompdjames of Dusty Thanes

Genkinahito

John Samuel of Pirates of the Burley Griffith

The Subtle Doctor of Rayout

 

I’d have to say that I’ve perhaps gotten closer to all the above bloggers than any others on WordPress.  It’s always fun to read their writings and each one exudes a unique flair. 

Let me take the time now to thank all my dear readers for providing me with the motivation to keep writing.  I hope to keep this blog going for many years to come.

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Fairy Tail and My Tendency to Avoid Long Series

As you know, my dear readers, I like catharsis in an anime.  Somehow catharsis has come to mean a kind of purgation of feeling which is supposed to follow upon watching drama; yet, Aristotle originally meant to mean conciseness in a story, as my Greek professor in college, Dr. Joseph Garnjobst, avers.  One of the surest ways for a series to lack catharsis is for it to stretch on and on.  Series longer than 27 episodes usually lose focus and contain plenty of filler episodes, which cause me to become annoyed and ofttimes drop the series altogether.  For example, without a friend of mine’s rabid love of D. Gray Man, I probably would have been fed up with the overdramatization which occurs around episode 60 and left off there.  In the case of the original Hunter x Hunter, I have less than ten episodes to go, but have somehow not found the opportunity to just sit down and finish off the show.

From stickfigureparadise of deviantart.com

From stickfigureparadise of deviantart.com

But, there have been a few other long series which I have enjoyed: Rurouni Kenshin, InuyashaDeath NoteDragon Ball, and Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Ken’ichi (Kenichi to the English speaking world) come to mind.  Of the big three, the manga drove me away from Naruto after five volumes, Bleach became so dull around episode 100 that I dropped it, and I remember opining to my brother that I would rather watch four episodes of Sailor Moon than one of One Piece.  For those of you who are curious, this would require watching all the television episodes 12 1/3 times–but, I would be more than willing to do than than watch through One Piece once!

Sailor Moon

Yet, a new long series has enthralled me: Fairy Tail.  I have ever been a devotee of fantasy literature, and Fairy Tail, which derives from the pen of the author of Rave Master–a manga I really should get down to reading one day, contains that balance of lighthearted comedy and dire situations which I find most appealing in a story.  The characters, whether the quick tempered Erza, the motion sick prone Natsu, or Gray the exhibitionist, are all very likable.  Of all these, Erza stands out as my favorite.  This is doubtless partly due to her long red hair, beautiful figure, and the ease with which she smites hordes of enemies, but I also can identify with her compassionate nature and unwillingness to open herself up to others.

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And so, I have found a new series with which to while away my leisure time.  Hopefully, it will spawn some excellent editorials for you in the future.  Any other fans of Fairy Tail out there?

Gintama and Refusing to Surrender

Gintama happens to be one of my favorite shows presently.  I always loved it for its outrageous humor, and its first two episodes are classic.  In the second season, they started creating more serious story arcs, and they succeeded in making them spectacular.  I suppose that the best comedies always have a vein of seriousness in it.  Socrates did argue  with Aristophanes in his Symposium that a writer of comedy should be equally able to write tragedy.  Somehow, the seriousness of a situation always lends more humor to it.  For example, while I was a cadet in the Navy League, my funny bone was surprisingly easy to tickle–but, my laughter often provoked unfortunate consequences, which very misfortunes actually led to a vicious cycle of joviality.

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At any rate, one of my favorite arcs deals with the show’s madao, Hasegawa Taizou.  Madao stands for mattaku dame na otoko, which translates to “completely useless guy.”  He finally gets a job by which he hopes to be able to repair his relationship with his wife, with whom he is separated.  However, he discovers that his wife has begun to date another man.  Refusing to let this ruin his good spirits, he goes to work by train only to have the following mishap: he trips on the platform, grabs onto a woman in the attempt to stop his fall, ends up dragging her off, and performs the start of an awkward wrestling move on her.  

The famed Kinniku Buster

The famed Kinniku Buster

This mishap leads to him being arrested as a pervert.  To make his depression worse, the prosecutor happens to be the man dating his wife.  This man offers Hasegawa a chance to have these charges dropped if he signs a letter of divorce.  While Hasegawa refuses this, he does ask Gintoki, the series’ hero, during an interview at the prison for a rope strong enough to hang a man.  To which Gintoki respond with one of the noblest lines in the series: “Next time…I’ll bring the rope. I won’t bring it so that you can hang yourself, but if its a rope to pull you out of the depths of hell, I’ll bring as many as you need.”  From this point, Gintoki becomes Hasegawa’s defense attorney, and one of the most screwball trials ever contemplated ensues. 

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But, refusing to surrender to despair stands as one of the central themes in Gintama.  They also crafted a magnificant story in the case of Hijikata, a the vice captain of the Shinsengumi, who takes a demon sword as a temporary replacement only to have it bring him under the curse of extreme otakufication.  But, the series shows that there is always hope no matter what one is struggling against.

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Favorites for the New Season

The blogosphere seems to be a buzz with news concerning the autumn anime season.  You can see Caraniel’s thorough description of each show below.  Of these, three familiar titles stand out: Hajime no Ippo, Coppelion, and Unbreakable Machine Doll.  I have watched the prior seasons of Hajime no Ippo, and hope for good things in the latest installment.

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Yet, the last season caused me to worry that the show might be losing its way, especially in the last fight with Mamoru Takamura.  That fight featured less of the highly realistic, blow by blow fighting one comes to love in the show.  That fight contained moves which seemed to make it degenerate into a DBZ skirmish, with the boxers moving faster than the eye could follow and delivering hundreds of punches at once.  If they manage to veer away from that course, then I’m sure that this will be a great season of Hajime no Ippo.  I’m especially curious to see Miyata and Ippo in the same ring, but my brother said that this hasn’t even occurred in the manga; so, I don’t have much of a hope of that.

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The reason I look forward to Coppelion and Unbreakable Machine Doll lies in the fact that their manga were so enjoyable to read.  Coppelion offers a truly unique setting.  Three teenage girls who have been genetically engineered to withstand radiation are sent to a city which has suffered a meltdown in its past.  They seek to find survivors in this incredibly inclement environment–some of whom are not too friendly.  All three of the girls are rather likable and the action promises to be quite fierce.

Unbreakable Machine Doll may be considered standard shonen, harem fantasy fare, but I find the characters and the action very enjoyable.  Our main character, Raishin, has control over a doll–i.e. a fighting automaton–named Yaya.  He enters a magical academy with the hope of becoming the strongest by winning a certain competition which will earn him the title Wiseman.  In addition to the standard tournament format, we have levels of intrigue surrounding the academy’s workings to lend more interest to the scenario.  But, I cannot stress how enjoyable the characters are to watch, especially hilarious are the scenes where Yaya expresses jealousy toward women who approach Raishin and her attempts to seduce him.  All of these advances, Raishin fights off with impeccable chastity.  The fights are hard-hitting and Raishin and Yaya form a cool fighting combination.

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There you have it, my dear readers.  I’m most looking forward to these three shows due to my experience with them.  Otherwise, I’m going to give Golden Time, Samurai Flamenco, Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road, Pupa, and Kill La Kill a shot; but these shows are further down the list.

Seeing God in a Man

I have had occasion to read a wonderful work titled Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H. W. Crocker III.  Prior to this, I had not had occasion to study the man, though the American Civil War has always been a favorite field of study.  You see, in a visit to the Petersburg Battlefield Park, I became haunted by Lee’s eyes–you may see the picture I saw below.  His eyes exuded nobility, gentleness, and elfin cheer.  They seemed to encourage me to be of good cheer–that happiness is around the corner if only I do not give up and continue to seek virtue.  So, I picked up this work to have my desire to learn about Lee further inflamed.  I am now inspired to read Emory Thomas’s biography of the man and even to eventually tackle Douglas Southall Freeman’s four volume work.  Why?  Because one can perceive Jesus Christ in the man’s virtues and kindness towards all.

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The true driving force behind every man’s striving is to find a person: Jesus Christ.  He is a person so wonderful that we wish to emulate Him as far as possible, to love Him with our whole heart, and obey His commandments and wishes as much as possible so that we might always remain with Him.  This is evident in our struggles after virtue–which Jesus has in infinity, our desire to be loved for being truly lovable, and in how we seek the company of good friends or even people who do not know Christ.  As Christ wished people to know His Father and His Mission, we wish for people to know Christ and that the Father sent Him to save the world.  People are good in the proportion that they imitate Christ, and it is in the imitation and beholding of Him that our happiness lies.

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Why do people feel lost?  Because they cannot behold or feel Him whom they really desire.  They see sins and defects in themselves and become disconnected with other people.  Then, they turn to every pleasure they can imagine in the belief that these things will satisfy them.  Yet, pursuing pleasure rather than virtue has the opposite effect: they feel more and more withdrawn from Christ and true Happiness.  The only and chiefest pleasure which brings one closer to Christ is possession of a good conscience.  Yet, in this feeling of being lost and deserted by God, God never leaves us nor seeks drawing us to Him.

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Let us then put our trust in God, love Him, worship Him, emulate His virtues, and delight to see flashes of the divine in our fellow men.  Then, one day, we shall no longer see through a glass darkly and behold Christ Himself before us.

The Literature and History Blog Up and Running

I’ve had the chance to write a few posts for my new blog: Aquila et Infans.  This is Latin for “The Eagle and Child,” which you Inkling fans out there will recognize as the name of the pub where that group had their meetings.  I intend this blog to concentrate on literary and historical articles so that I can concentrate purely on anime and religion here.  I hope that those of my dear readers who are book lovers will find this a great site to follow.

www.aquilaetinfans.wordpress.com

Smoking-Pipes

Autumn 2013 Anime Preview

I’m so happy to see Caraniel blogging again! She gives a most thorough rundown of perhaps every show this season. I hope that this whets your appetite for some new shows. I was certainly pleased with a few of them!

Caraniel's Ramblings

autumn lrg

I’m back bitches~!  I have been back in the warm embrace of my PC & wonderful internet connection for three weeks now – it’s been a strange experience.  For a start Ireland feels bloody tiny, but the crap public transport means that I am sorely missing not having a car.  I am pretty much bankrupt thanks to my trip (which was loads of fun) so had a frantic first week home of job searching.  Thankfully I got a temporary 2 month contract to tide me over for a while….which meant very little time being a NEET and catching up on things.

Being the obsessive fan I am, I did manage to keep up with a choice selection of shows from the seasons I was AWOL, but still have a lengthy list of things I want to check out – will get round to them eventually.  But anyhoo, you’re here for…

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