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  All Man’s Clotted Clay is set three hundred years before the events of the unpublished Ketil’s Saga.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.

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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

Medieval Otaku’s Fifth Anniversary and Anime Spring 2017

Bungo SD XII

You’ve read the title correctly, my dear readers.  Medieval Otaku has entered its fifth year of existence!  Usually, I would point out my plans for the coming months, but certain urgent matters occupy my attention such that I don’t want to set anything blog-related in stone.  Over the past year, I spent too much of my time focused on political matters and the 24-hour news cycle.  Happily, the constant one-upmanship that characterizes the news has started to bore me to tears, so I should spend more time on anime and my other hobbies.  May this produce more interesting posts for you!

Let me turn to my choices for the spring 2017 season of anime.

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Examining Light Novels: On Rebellion

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In the latest post from my column on Beneath the Tangles, I examine the topic of revolt from the angle of Christian theology, bringing up the examples of “the Rising of the North” under Queen Elizabeth’s reign and the American Revolution.  What brought this topic to mind was the plot of the fourth volume of Slayers.  I hope to write many more volumes on this series in the future.  Click on the link below for the post!

Examining Light Novels: On Rebellion

 

Chaos; Child and the Creator-Creature Relationship

Theological questions are rather muted in Chaos; Child until the depths of Onoe and Takuru’s relationship is revealed at the end of the series.  The odd and poorly Englished subtitle to Chaos; Child reads: “If you are God, and the delusion becomes reality.  About what kind of noids you get?  Is it the sensual world?  The despotic society?  The destructive sanctions?  Or…”  Or, will your lust to solve a convoluted and macabre mystery materialize?  By the end, I realized that Takuru is essentially a God character and Onoe is his creature, created by his psychic powers during his hour of need in the Shibuya earthquake set off by the events of Chaos; Head.  For this reason, Takuru holds himself responsible for Onoe’s murders: they were committed to fulfill Takuru’s subconscious desire for solving a complex mystery and being a hero.

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The first thing to notice about Takuru’s Haruhi Suzumiya-esque existence is his intrinsically flawed godhood.  The real God does not need His creatures (Psalm 50:6 – 13) and His care of them is for the sake of their happiness, even if God delights in the happiness of His creatures.  Conversely, Takuru needs Onoe, and she exists for him to be happy and rejoices in Takuru’s happiness.  This reversal must happen whenever one incomplete being takes another incomplete being for its god.

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Examining Light Novels: Medieval and Modern Castes

Here is the latest post in my Examining Light Novels column.  I talk about the medieval caste system with a focus on executioners, who would have been considered untouchables at the time, and try to compare that to how one’s social status in modern society causes people to view one.  What makes for a favored class of persons changes in every age, but people’s desire to measure others by their particular situations doesn’t.  Click the link below!

Examining Light Novels: Medieval and Modern Castes

I’ve had a lot of fun talking about Spice and Wolf and how accurately the author portrays the medieval era or the medieval Church.  But, it’s time for me to move onto greener pastures.  My next post for the column will be gleaned from the light novel series Slayers.  Unlike Spice and Wolf, I’ll be reading this one from the original Japanese, which–though more verbose–is actually a little easier than many popular manga.

Anime Winter 2017 Mid-Season Review

After dropping KonoSuba, I realized that I was only keeping up with four shows this season.  Usually, I manage seven or eight.  Revisiting an earlier post made me remember that I had not yet tried out Little Witch Academia TV or Onihei.  Having watched the first episode of both series, those two are now on my watch list, and I hope to review them later.  I can already say that the animation of these two does not impress me that much, especially Onihei‘s reliance on CGI for figures in the background.  At the moment, I can say little more than that.

Why did I drop KonoSuba?  I’ve always felt on the fence with this show, though I enjoyed the first season well enough (7/10).  The comedy requires me to be in a peculiar certain mood, and the fanservice proves distracting.  The more these two drawbacks bothered me, the less inclined I was to enjoy KonoSuba‘s humor.  So, I washed my hands of it.  All the same, may those of you who enjoy the show enjoy it still more!

I’ll miss Megumin for sure.

On to the mid-season reviews.

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Spectacle and Service — Little Witch Academia and the purpose of magic

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diana cavendish floating teapot little witch academia episode 7, little witch academia episode 7 diana cavendish, diana cavendish little witch academia episode 7

How useful is floating a teapot in the air to serve hot tea?

Although both tea and wine have tannins — in varying amounts depending on steep time and prior to separating grape juice from the stems and skins in the case of wine — the former hardly needs to be aerated. Height is not necessary in the pour. And even if it was, a human could do the same with an equal amount of training.

What is the exact purpose of Diana Cavendish floating her teapot over to her teacher other than to pass her exam? Does she offer a service that couldn’t be provided by human hands?

No, she does not. The action is essentially useless.

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Fátima and the Desert Fathers

The three Fatima visionaries: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta The three Fatima visionaries: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta

by Marco Gregory da Vinha, Obl.O.S.B. (Marco and his wife, Isa, are Oblate novices of Silverstream Priory, Ireland)

I find myself writing today about a topic which I never thought I would – Fátima; specifically, the message of Fátima (or, at least, how I have come to understand it). Caveat: for those that came here expecting some comment on “the Consecration of Russia”, you can forget about that. That is a topic I’m not at all interested in touching. Let’s just say that I believe that that request was very time-specific, and is not necessarily what the “message” was all about, though it seems to me that to many it carries an almost messianic weight.

Love it or hate it, every Portuguese knows Fátima and has probably been there at least once in their life. In the minds of not a…

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Top Five Anime of 2016

I’m late to this party, but better late than never!  In prior years, I’ve only ever named my favorite anime of the year, but couple of friends have requested a top five list.  The first four were easy, since they were the highest rated shows at four and a half stars.  Deciding which four star show should hold fifth place between four worthy contenders was far more difficult.  At the end of the list, the three which fell short will be listed as honorable mentions.

Concerned Luluco

Last year was excellent for anime, the only thing I regret about the shows last year is that none stood out as a classic.  In 2013 and 2014, I had at least one show rated five stars.  The year 2015, like this year, lacked a classic for my top fifty list.  But, this probably reflects my favored genres–action, adventure, fantasy, and samurai–not doing so well.

On to the top five of 2016!

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Sobacha or Buckwheat Tea

For a long time, I have known about buckwheat tea but have never given it a shot.  After enjoying some nice bibim naengmyeon at the best Korean restaurant near me, I went to the Korean market nearby and chanced upon a container of buckwheat made for brewing.  At seven dollars for a decent sized container, I figured, “Why not?”

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