The Greatest Knight: the remarkable life of William Marshal, the power behind five English thrones – Thomas Asbridge

I recently finished this book and wanted to write a review of it. However, I find myself far too tired to write today. And so, I’m pleased to refer you to this blog, which conveys a similar impression to mine of the book in question.

By the way, one of the reasons William Marshall is called “the greatest knight” happens to do with the fact that he defeated 500 other knights in tournaments and on the battlefield–fighting his last battle at age 70! Anyone with an interest in medieval times will enjoy this book.

itsonlywordsweb

I knew a little about William Marshal – he’s cropped up in quite a few books about the early Plantagenets – but I didn’t know anything about where he came from and how he became the go-to man when Kings were having problems hanging onto their thrones.

This book does an excellent job filling in those gaps and, as far as possible with someone who lived such a long time ago, bring the person to life.

I loved the story of the discovery of the manuscript in the 19th century that turned out to be a 13th century biography/hagiography of William, possibly commissioned by his son. This means that far more can be learned about William than about most of his contemporaries. The author of this book is quite clear about taking some of his source materials, including this manuscript, with a pinch of salt. I also like…

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Calling Every Odd Creature a Demon

Dream Eater Merry recalled a qualm I have about people who sub and dub anime. They translate most supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore as “demon.” The word demon points to a specific kind of creature: an intellectual spirit who refused to serve God and was damned for all eternity. They now roam the earth in order to tempt others into the same fate—for ultimately the same crime.

You might point out that the word demon did not originally mean devil. The ancient Greeks imagined that various places in the natural world had deities attached to them. These spirits were unknown within standard Greek mythology, and the pagans called them demons. Yet, it’s good practice to spell this kind of demon as daimon or daemon in order to help the reader separate this kind of spirit from a fallen angel. After all, Socrates claimed that he had a daemon who would tell him not to do wrong. The notion of a demon telling someone to avoid sin strikes one as preposterous.

Obviously a demon.

Very often, the same creatures referred to as demons in anime are more accurately called fairies. Yes, the Japanese do have a word which tends to get translated as fairy—yousei. But, if you look at European folklore, you’ll see that fairies or the fair folk or the longaevi cover a wider spectrum than small humanoids with tiny wings. Also, fairy can describe a malevolent, benevolent, or indifferent kind of creature—unlike the malevolent beings we call demons.

Still, I do imagine audiences would laugh at seeing Inuyasha boast that he wishes to become an “honest-to-goodness full fairy.” (There are at least two senses in which the above is funny; though, the slang for a man with same-sex attraction might be far from their minds when dealing with youkai.) Why not simply use the word youkai? English does this all the time when we come to unfamiliar concepts. Just make the word English with a properly Anglicized pronunciation. Let the viewer expand their horizons. Only use the word demon for akuma, which is how the Japanese translate the Christian concept of a fallen angel.

In Dream Eater Merry, the supernatural beings are not exactly “dream demons” but muma.  According to my big, fat kanji dictionary, muma is simply Japanese for nightmare or a disturbing dream.  Why not then translate muma as “nightmare”?  The heroine Merry originally calls herself a nightmare, but later becomes known as a baku for defeating nightmares.  Baku are spirits which eat nightmares but might turn around and devour a child’s hopes and dreams if called too often.  Oddly enough, there is one nightmare in the series who only does the later.  One might describe the battle between her and Merry as one between two baku–one good and one evil.

True enough, nightmares are not usually beings with personal agency.  In that way, the nightmares in Dream Eater Merry are more like demons in having agency.  But, the author is obviously personifying nightmares, and a viewer would eventually go along with this personification.  My main gripe still stands: stop calling every odd creature in anime a demon!

A Missive to My Dear Readers

Hi, there! It’s been a long time since y’all have heard from me. Since I’m not sure what to write, the following will simply consist of things which have been on my mind. First, I’ve lived long enough in the South to start saying “y’all.” As one who has lived in the North for most of his life, that “y’all” should ever pass my teeth’s barrier save in jest comes as a great surprise. Maybe five years will see me fully assimilated to Dixie. One gentleman did tell me, after I mentioned that Alabama would replace New Jersey as my residence of choice, that I would fit in just fine. That my ancestors originally settled in colonial Maryland and would fight for the South in the Unpleasant Affair of 1861-1865 has perhaps left an indelible mark in my blood.

The second thing which comes to mind is that I would like to post during this time of being cooped up in our homes. To that end, I desire to post once every day until the seventh anniversary of this blog. As an “essential worker” during the Kung flu pandemic, I’ll be out of the house most days for 8-9 hours before hunkering down with my food, supplies, ammunition, and toilet paper. (Who ever thought that people would obsessively buy toilet paper for weeks? I have ten rolls myself and expect them to last a coon’s age. Yet, some psychopaths apparently feel they need a dozen twenty-four count containers of the stuff.) I should have enough time to scribble at least three hundred words on a random topic if not more.

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The Rest of that Thanksgiving Post

Here we are on December 22nd, nearly Christmas, and you’ve yet to hear about those eight other anime which were mentioned back in the “Happy Yankee Thanksgiving” post!  Well, my dear readers have waited long enough.  Without further ado, here they are:

1) Patlabor

Through the encouragement of a good friend who is also a big fan of this anime, I decided to give Patlabor a try.  This lighthearted anime still manages to provide some great combat, suspense, and intrigue.  It also helps that the characters are very likeable.  I haven’t formulated a full opinion of Patlabor yet, but I can guarantee that it’s fun. (Hidive)


2) Ranma 1/2

Many fans of Rumiko Takahashi consider Ranma 1/2 to be her best work–others say Urusei Yatsura, and yet others Inuyasha.  (A friend of mine theorizes that it depends on which one saw first.  Inuyasha is the one for me.)  Ranma 1/2 will appeal especially to those who love martial arts comedy.  After over 60 episodes, I don’t feel bored of it yet. (Hulu, Vudu)


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Sunshine Award 2019

Thanks Jusuchin of A Journey Through Life for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these award posts, and I have a couple of others which I need to do–including rating Spring 2019 and telling you all what I intend to do about this season.  At any rate, please give Jusuchin’s blog a visit.  He tends follow one or two anime a season.  His choices always have plenty of action and come near to my own tastes in anime.

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site.

Now, let me answer those eleven questions.


1) What got you into anime and how old were you?

My recollection places me at age fifteen around my sophomore year of high school.  Millennials have been dubbed “the Cartoon Generation,” so it seems only natural that I would eventually discover that anime existed as a separate genre of cartoons.  Coming across Vampire Hunter D and Rurouni Kenshin on Toonami kindled my interest in anime and the rest is history.

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How The Hell Does The Rising of the Shield Hero Support Slavery?

I think this is a very nice post about Shield Hero and the Slavery controversy. 100% accurate to the actual messages the show presents.

Unnecessary exclamation mark!

We’re more than halfway through The Rising of the Shield Hero, and two things have been consistent: the quality of Kevin Penkin’s incredible soundtrack for the show, and the outrage of many Western anime fans, bloggers and critics over the story’s ‘controversial’ elements. From the first episode alone, many denounced the series for its use of a false rape accusation to establish it’s central conflict, claiming this to be outright misogynistic or simply in poor taste in the wake of ‘#MeToo’ activism. But beyond that initial furor, another outcry has been consistently present on social media.

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Boy With Luv (작은 것들을 위한 시) by BTS feat. Halsey

It’s good to see some quick takes from Nami again. Be sure to give these a look.

The Drama Llama

— 1 —

It seems cliche to choose BTS’s new title song as the song for this week but I did it because of the Korean title – 작은 것들을 위한 시, literally meaning in English, “A Poem for Small Things.”

It’s about a lover who is entirely absorbed in their beloved and wanting to know everything about them. It’s not deep in the sense of being the most beautifully made iteration of this idea, but it’s a pleasant, joyous, euphoric one.  And despite what some might say, it completes a logical progression plot-wise from “Boy in Luv” and even through “DNA” and “Fake Love.”

“Boy in Luv” is the angsty adolescent love focused on self; “DNA” revels in the romance and speaks as if it’s fated, de-emphasizing choice; “Fake Love” reveals that destiny and feelings might not be the best way to determine love; and “Boy with Luv” is…

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Reflections on The Rising of the Shield Hero, Episode 4: Lullaby at Dawn

Here’s a great and well-written post on episode 4 of The Rising of the Shield Hero. The author is new to the aniblogosphere, but this is a great start. Who would have thought that Naofumi and Motoyasu suffer from the same defect?

Beneath the Tangles

Today’s guest post comes from The Varangian, a writer and podcaster who comes to us through his friend (and yours and ours), Medieval Otaku. I hope you enjoy his excellent reflections on the most recent episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero which, if you haven’t seen it yet, in turn demonstrates just how special this series may be.

The Rising of the Shield Hero has been a trial by fire both for our heroes and for the audience, as best shield boy Naofumi has endured betrayal, false accusation, slander, ostracism, and a good deal of bad manners. The only bright spot in this very dark place has been his relationship with Raphtalia, who might be the salvation of him yet—as long as she’s given the chance. In the fourth episode, “Lullaby at Dawn” they (and we) are subjected to an agonizingly severe test of their bonds, a test…

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usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles (part I of ??!)

No one has ever made reading James Joyce sound appealing to me before. That alone should interest my dear readers enough to take a look at this post.

Res Studiorum et Ludorum

Now for the good stuff. In rereading Ulysses and dipping into Finnegans Wake and Richard Ellmann’s biography of James Joyce, it’s become clear that the man is one of those artists who I have a foundational, yet utterly complicated and baffling relationship with. It will take some time to completely hash things out.

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Winter 2019 Anime Impressions

Always happy to see posts from Cytrus. It looks like another anime blogger is tackling ten anime this season. See if one of these shows catches your fancy.

Yaranakya

Out of the blue, some short impressions on stuff I will be following this winter.

Honourable mentions, good but probably won’t be keeping up with: Endro, HizaUe, Kotobuki

B class residents:

TateYuusha/Rising of Shield Hero: Isekai adaptation blessed with a motivated staff and a decent budget. I felt the opening was a bit too heavy-handed for its own good, but the series has more unique ideas later down the line. Now it is all a matter of whether a proper plot direction can be established and whether character chemistry can save the series from mediocrity. Very easy to follow, though, with a constant mix of action, humour and character development.

Kemurikusa: There is a lot to Kemurikusa that feels fresh, and that is its main forte. The setting, plot progression and dialogue flow are simply different from any other production of the season. That said, the pacing is on the…

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Christ the King

Happy Feast of Christ the King! This is an excellent post describing how Christ built His Kingdom on the Truth, while the kingdoms of the world are more than willing to neglect the truth in favor of power.

Salty Bread

Christ the King

We live in an era of conspiracy theories, fake news, and alternative facts. In the past falsehood competed with truth. Now it’s confusion. We don’t have to be convinced of a lie to be led astray. It’s enough to become cynical and doubt that we can ever arrive at objective, absolute truth. Truth becomes relative and personal: “You have your truth. I have mine.” The person who shouts the loudest seems to get the most attention nowadays. Into this charred, postmodern landscape comes a stranger and alien, Jesus Christ. When he finally got his day in court, the judge wanted to know if he was indeed a king. He was, but he said his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:33-37). This world loves power, not truth. Jesus gave up his power to bear witness to the truth.

“So you really are a king?” Pilate asked.

Jesus…

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New Podcast: Deluded Fruitcakes Anonymous

Two of my good friends have started a podcast.  It sounds like they want to discuss books, movies, swords, anime, and manga–basically, their interests.  I myself might appear on a future episode of their podcast.  Why should you listen to them?  They’re funny, articulate, and their interests might cross with yours.  Anyway, drop by and say that Medieval Otaku sent you!

Reblog: When the Barque of Peter is Tossed by Storms… Pray to St Michael Archangel! —

From Fr George W. Rutler’s Weekly Column Nostalgia is a selective editing of the past. For instance, there are those who wish we had today some of the architects of thirteenth-century cathedrals, but who avoid mentioning thirteenth-century dentists. In recent times, the general conceit has been the opposite of nostalgia. The philosopher Owen Barfield spoke […]

via When the Barque of Peter is Tossed by Storms… Pray to St Michael Archangel! —

Fall 2018 First Impressions/At the half way point/Something

Mechanical Anime Reviews

I’m a very late with this one. I’m sorry. October was busy for me. Not only has school been getting busier and busier for me, I’ve also had some projects on my blog that have taken quite a bit of work and time for me to focus on. I mean, my time has been slowly draining away from me over the past month. I didn’t even write an OWLS post. Writing a first impression post isn’t as easy one would expect. Writing down thoughts for things like this could be much more complicated than one would think.

I have been watching a lot more shows this season then I anticipated. I said in my Summer 2018 in review post that I would try to keep my list lower and watch only nine shows or so. I personally don’t count Space Battleship Tiramisu because it’s a short and Thunderbolt Fantasy isn’t…

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