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.

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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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Practically a Mid-Season Review for Anime Fall 2016

Here we are five weeks into the new season of anime, and I have yet to write a post about what I’m watching!  Keshikaran!  Mattaku keshikaran!  Procrastination counts as one of my worst vices.  It seems to have gotten worse of late, and one wonders how I shall manage to bear with NaBloPoMo.

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Limiting myself to six anime was surprisingly easy this season.  I’ve yet to watch Luger Code 1951, but I’ve kept up with the other five.  And so, I’d like to invite my dear readers to suggest a couple more for me to add to my watch list.  Without further ado, the following are the shows I’ve been watching:

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1) BBK/ BRNK II

The CG animation in this show is some of the best I’ve seen.  The second season started with its best foot forward: action packed mecha battles.  All the characters are as likable as they were in the first season.

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The greatest problem with the show thus far is how the characters all strike me as rather confused.  Epizo works for the villain, Guy, because he loves Laeticia–even though the villain intends to eliminate all Bubuki users in the end.  Despite being one of Guy’s most devoted allies, Kaoruko, Azuma’s sister, has betrayed the villain…and been simultaneously abandoned by our heroes.  Reoko looks like she’ll be a good girl this time.  And so, I find myself just going along for the ride as I hope for the plot to make more sense.

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Life and Times Of Croatia’s Blessed Alojzije Stepinac – A Robin Harris Book

This sounds like a fascinating book on Bl. Alojzije Stepanic. He’s one of the more controversial candidates for canonization because of accusations of cooperating with fascists during WWII. In that regard, he’s very much like the much maligned Pope Pius XII. In either case, one will find that the accusations are part of the communist plot during the Cold War to discredit the Church. I’m happy to see that a scholarly work has come out on Bl. Stepanic’s life which addresses this issue.

Croatia, the War, and the Future

From left: Robin Harris (historian and author), Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Croatian president) and Zeljko Tanjic (Rector, Croatian Catholic University) PHOTO: predsjednica.hrFrom left: Robin Harris (historian and author),
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Croatian president)
and Zeljko Tanjic (Rector, Croatian Catholic University)
PHOTO: predsjednica.hr

It was Friday 21 October 2016 when in Zagreb Croatia, accompanied by the Croatian Catholic University rector Zeljko Tanjic, the well-known British historian, publicist, writer and an important adviser to the former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – Robin Harris, presented a copy of his new book “Stepinac – His Life and Times” to the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

“Stepinac – His Life and Times” is the first all-encompassing biography of Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII whose deeds and persona have been subject to controversies ever since WWII, mounted and perpetuated by the communists of Yugoslavia and their friends.
For the last seventy years—ever since his show-trial in 1946—Alojzije Stepinac, Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb, has been the subject of controversy. In this…

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Examining Light Novels: A Bored God

Here is the most recent installment of “Examining Light Novels,” a column I write on Beneath the Tangles.  I must say that I was not too impressed with volume 12 of Spice and Wolf and did not even read half of the novel before penning the post.  Writing from hindsight, one can safely skip volumes six and seven.  After completing volume twelve, I’ll make a judgment on that one too.

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Anyway, below is one remark which caught my attention in volume twelve.  God is great, and having even the slightest understanding of God makes one a great theologian, as one of the saints mentioned in the Greek Orthodox Philokalia wrote.  One of the most important things to understand about God is that He is fascinated by His creatures, not bored of them, which is fortunate for us: we exist because of God’s creative word.  If He really became bored of us, He might stop thinking of us and speaking that word, which would cause us to cease to exist.

I suppose we have difficulty imagining God as interested in us, because we have difficulty imagining a humble God.  That God is humble boggles the human mind.  Part of the reason Christmas is so popular is because the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God comes to us as a small, helpless, and speechless infant.  This great miracle of humility so astonishes the mind that even non-Christian cultures feel compelled to celebrate it in some way.

May you enjoy the article linked to below!

Examining Light Novels: A Bored God

 

Lovely Blog Award from LynLynSays

Almost a year ago, LynLynSays honored me with a Lovely Blog Award, for which I am very grateful.  (It’s about time I write this post!)  LynLyn has a very entertaining and cogent style of writing, and I can’t encourage you enough to read her posts.

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Here are the rules:

  • You must thank person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • You must list the rules and display the award
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers

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A Brief Criticism of Drifters and Defense of St. Joan of Arc

Drifters stood at the top of my list among the present season’s anime, and I wrote as much in the chat of an entertaining conversation hosted by LitaKino.  Then, one of my best commentators, David A, pointed out that St. Joan of Arc was portrayed as a crazied pyromaniac in the show and as one of the villains.  This counts as the most wholly inaccurate and unflattering representations of a saint I have heard of since Wolf Hall, a show which portrays St. Thomas More as a corrupt fanatic.  I cannot get behind a show which calumniates a saint.  At least Joan of Arc’s portrayal in Shingeki no Bahamuteven though it presents a Joan of Arc who falls from grace for a time–still presents a character bearing her name as noble, courageous, and just.

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Calumniating the memory of the saints and great men counts as one of the blackest crimes a writer can commit.  Not only does the calumniator blacken someone’s reputation, but he damages the heritage of new generations.  Each generation has a right to have heroes to look up to and emulate.  One can claim that Drifters‘ portrayal is mere fiction, but most people get their information about the past from media, especially because schools don’t properly educate the youth on the subject of history.  Many people do believe that St. Joan of Arc was insane and delusional.

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Examining Light Novels: Latin in the Middle Ages

My latest article on Beneath the Tangles talks about why Latin became the Franca lingua of the Middle Ages, and about how the Catholic Church preferred–and indeed, still prefers–this language above all the rest.  This topic and the last one I wrote about, monastic contributions to European economics, Isuna Hasekura gets very right.

Examining Light Novels: Latin in the Middle Ages

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Quick Thought: Under the Dog

I’ve heard of this anime. Jusuchin gives an excellent review of this episode length OVA. It sounds pretty cool overall, and I hope that they manage to make a series out of it–though, I doubt that it comes close to being like Ghost in the Shell.

A Journey Through Life

The result of a crowd-funded campaign, Under the Dog was originally envisioned as a 26 episode series with an animation style hearkening back to shows like Ghost in the Shell. The plot follows an UN-sanctioned assassination group called Flowers, made up of young teenage girls who have special abilities formed after a massive terrorist attack occurred during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Failure of a mission means death for the agent, as well as family and close friends through the use of implanted bombs.

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Sancte Pio, Ora pro nobis!

I mentioned Padre Pio in my last post. We fortunately have many quotes and stories about him because he’s a very recent saint (d. 1968). Many people who knew him are still alive! Here is a collection of twenty-five quotes of his. All are very encouraging.

St. Padre Pio — His Wisdom in 25 Quotations

St. Padre Pio

St. Pio of  Pietrelcina was a humble friar whose holiness and patient suffering won many souls for Christ. Pope Benedict XVI said he “‘prolonged’ the work of Christ: announcing the Gospel, remitting sins and healing the sick in body and spirit”. Here are twenty-five quotations from this much beloved saint illustrating his wisdom, humanity and deep spiritual insight.

In the uproar of the passions and of reverses of fortune, we are upheld by the comforting hope of God’s inexhaustible mercy. 

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Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles. He is always there, close to you, encouraging you to fight your battle courageously. He is there to ward off the enemy’s blows so that you may not be hurt.

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God leaves you in that…

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Quick Takes: Turkish-style Coffee and Other Things

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Welcome to a suitably random series of quick takes, as you can tell from the first topic.  Those who wish to read a random assortment of things about yours truly are encouraged to continue.  Which reminds me, there are two award posts I should do in the near future from Josh W and Lynlynsays.  Look forward to them!

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I’ve determined that my favorite method of brewing coffee is the Turkish method: stirring very fine coffee grinds into some water, simmering it for five minutes (I try to keep it between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit), and then stirring before pouring it into a cup.  My grandmother uses this method, though I never employed it myself until the past month.  One interesting thing about this method is how one can stir up the grinds on the bottom of one’s cup to heighten the flavor.  The end result is very strong–especially with the Death Wish Coffee (the most caffeinated coffee in the world) I’m using now.

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