Look, I know a lot of you are here for the beauty reviews but sometimes even I forget it’s only 50% of what I do here. Anyway, I am now in Full Steam Revision Mode (if that is a thing) and the Gap Year Diary is pretty much redundant now I have like, no life outside of that, hence me ditching this title as of now.
I still have things I am enjoying at home, though, which I want to share with you all, and whilst I have very much toned down the number of personal blog posts here since a while back, I know there’s still things I want to share from that bit of my life. This post ended up being super long, though…
Anime: Ghost in The Shell – Stand Alone Complex
Yes, this is the franchise that has now spawned the Hollywood remake starring Scarlett Johannsen, which is coming out soon. It’s stirred a bit of controversy for the decision to cast her as the lead, which I feel really conflicted about. I absolutely hate the fact that I think she suits the role and I could excuse it by saying ‘hey, the Major is a cyborg, her entire body is artificial anyway’. I can sort of go MEH about it this time but this was always going to be something that I wouldn’t support. I just really, really want to see more Eastern faces in Hollywood without all the tropes.
(On another note, there’s going to be a Death Note US Remake whose casting has also been explained away. I expect both adaptations to be FLAWLESS, okay, as both are franchises I adore. The trailer for this Netflix movie came out super recently – have you seen it? What did you think?)
Do I expect good things from the movie? I won’t be watching it in cinemas. Nevertheless, I think it will do well. From seeing the trailer, it looks visually stunning, but it seems the premise of the film takes a different direction to the anime, which I am slightly concerned about. The plot seems to be spun around the Major and her past rather than questions raised from exploring the setting and the idea/use of/manipulations of a cyberbrain, as in the Stand Alone Complex anime and (if I recall correctly) the first movie. I’m not sure how I feel about that, because I really enjoyed the Stand Alone Complex series and the philosophy behind it.
Either way, the original anime movie and series are bloody fantastic and I can genuinely say you are missing out if you dismiss the series no matter how well/not so well this movie does. It has an interesting setting that is really well explored and the soundtrack is also brill. Speaking of which…
Non-Lyrical Music: Yoko Kanno
I don’t often check out anime soundtracks but of the few times that I have, three have been by Yoko Kanno. She doesn’t have a set style but at the same time her ideas are quirky and distinctive which I think really adds to the atmosphere of the anime she composes for. Series include Ghost in the Shell’s Stand Alone Complex series, Terror in Resonance and Darker Than Black Season One.
My personal favourite is the Terror in Resonance soundtrack which is so calm and, like the anime,has a lot of Icelandic influence, but as the GITS-SAC soundtrack is really extensive I will not be surprised if I end up with a new favourite after more listens.
(There’s so much to talk about I’ve just hyperlinked everything in this section. Alternatively, here’s a playlist featuring all the videos in this section.)
Fifty Shades sucks but it gets such good promo. I love the sound of the Taylor Swift and Zayn Collab and I just like this dark smexy vibe. (If you like those and also like k-pop, by the way, check out Moon by Jonghyun and I Don’t Wanna Love You by Kim Joon Won and Krystal of f(x).)
In terms of current K-Pop, well, I am really liking:
- BTS – Spring Day – sad, nostalgic, and not quite a ballad which I like.
- TWICE – Knock Knock – ridiculously cute, and I love the dance.
- Gugudan – A Girl Like Me – the debut song they should have had. Stylish and funky.
- Taeyeon – Cover Up – I always like her more upbeat tracks, and she shows off a different vocal tone I haven’t heard from her before.
- Debut SNSD/ Girl’s Generation – Into The New World and Girl’s Generation – ITNW is still making waves even a decade after its release, and I’ve been grooving to this and their self-titled track for a while. ‘Party‘ is much newer but I’m grooving to that, too.
- Highlight (formerly B2ST) – Plz Don’t Be Sad – B2ST are back and with the sound I missed from them. I’m glad they made their own way, departing from their old label, and I truly wish them all the best. K-Pop groups can suffer a lot and these guys are real survivors.
Manga: Gintama by Hideaki Sorachi
I’m not sure what I was expecting from a manga with a name that contains a punny meaning for ‘silver balls’. I had previously tried reading this before, and it was just too chaotic for me. It’s an incredibly random sit-com set in an alternate earth with samurai and aliens, with a hefty dose of dirty jokes and puns and cultural references. Wasn’t that a mouthful? I would rather recommend Sket Dance, which is quite similar, only more toned down, less rude, and has a high school setting.
If I had read Gintama about eight years ago I would have understood nothing, reference-wise, and even now I don’t get them all, and somehow I just got used to the strange humour. It’s one of those things I’m enjoying but can’t really recommend, haha.
Special shout out to the fans who translate and put up chapters, because so many of the puns are language-based and must be very hard to try localising into English!
What I also noticed was that after over ten years of random stuff happening, Sorachi has blessed the fans with a proper, classic manga arc complete with my favourite character (an underrated side character) dying. Despite the lack of emotion I felt reading through ten years worth of content I realised just how attached I became reading it. Strange, for sure.
There is a live-action movie coming this July with Shun Oguri (Hana Yori Dango and a LOT of other stuff) and Masaki Suda (Kamen Rider W and Assassination Classroom’s Live Action) so fingers crossed it turns out well.
Gaming: Super Smash Bros 4 (3DS)
This game came out two years ago, and I only got my hands on it recently. I usually buy my games preowned so they’re cheaper but this just so happens to be one of those that doesn’t get much of a price decrease, even years after its release. It’s simply a battle game featuring characters from multiple game franchises from Mario to Sonic to the Animal Crossing Villager.
Let me say this now – I suck at games. I suck at this one, too. I play with my CPU opponents on level 4-5 out of a possible 9 and I can’t clear classic mode on level 2.0 (I got to the final battle and lost that). But I also enjoy the hell out of myself playing it and can still get addicted to Smash Run (seriously, it’s so much fun). That said, I used to enjoy playing SSB Brawl on the big TV with my siblings and unfortunately we can’t do that with only one 3DS and one copy of the game, and we don’t have a Wii U.
TV: Clique (BBC3/iPlayer) and Robot Wars (BBC2)
On one hand, we have Clique. I love the fact that it is set in a university as I feel that’s a setting not used often, and there’s definitely a glamorous yet mysterious feel. I can’t quite grasp the characters but I feel like that’s the point so I don’t mind. All in all, the secrets of the Clique are enticing and I’ll probably watch to the end of this six-part drama to find them all out.
On the other hand, Robot Wars is totally my guilty pleasure. I have no engineering genes from Dad but it’s accessible and easy to understand even for clueless people like me, but let’s be honest – I’m mostly there for the robot fights. Sometimes we get a dud episode in which the fights aren’t exciting and the robots have failed to start up or work at full power but most episodes are enjoyable.
That’s all I’ve been enjoying recently! Let me know if you recommend anything!
Lots of love,