Autumn Media Edit 2018

Hi everyone! I think it’s been AGES since I last did an editorial like this, so I am really eager to share what I have been watching, reading and listening to over the last few months.

Netflix

First off, I have recently gotten Netflix, and by that I mean my boyfriend’s. I had a trial a year or two ago and I watched a lot but didn’t find it necessary at the time. At the moment they do have a great selection of shows, both anime and not-anime, that I am interested in watching. I’m not a binge watcher at all so I am a few episodes into many many series at once. Of course, I started with the anime but, perhaps in the next Edit, we shall see a greater variety of shows!!

agg-main

On Netflix, I recommend Aggretsuko, a Sanrio cartoon about a sweet office worker who likes to vent her stress through raging death metal. I am also working my way through Samurai Champloo, a samurai anime with a hip-hop soundtrack. I also noticed Cowboy Bebop was on Netflix, too, which is a space action with a jazz-infused soundtrack. Both are definitely worth checking out, objectively, but perhaps didn’t hit the sweet spot for my personal taste.

Not on Netflix, we recently watched 91 Days at the University Anime Society which has been a huge hit with everyone! It’s fast-paced, dark, unexpected and a great series to watch together and talk about.

91days

Manga

In the same vein, I have been reading a lot of manga. I have recently binged a variety of series, and the ones I don’t write further about today are in bold in the list below.

  • Skip Beat (re-read)
  • Fruits Basket (re-read)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (re-read)
  • The Ancient Magus’ Bride (a quaint, British-inspired fantasy).
  • Hajime no Ippo (a boxing manga that is surprisingly gripping).
  • Real Clothes
  • Oishii Kankei (A Delicious Life)
  • Yotsuba& (laughed out loud a LOT reading this – a definite recommendation!)

Fruits Basket is probably my very first shoujo manga. No, not even Sailor Moon!! It was in the local library, as well as the school library, and I ended up finishing it online as a young teen. I didn’t fully understand the ending and perhaps even found it boring at the time.

However, reading it now, I realise that after the first five volumes of fun, it quickly becomes sadder. The plot was much less clear-cut than I thought but I did a much better job of understanding it now I am older, and these new things made me enjoy this re-read. That said, the writing is still stretched out and overly fluffy so this plot could have been finished at least a few volumes less, and I probably won’t re-read it again… at least not for a long time.

I started reading Real Clothes and Oishii Kankei, both by the same mangaka, after a long conversation at Anime Society, weeks ago, about the greatness of the shoujo (girls’) genre. I actually read more shounen (boys’) so I thought I needed to broaden my hoizons in this genre. I did start out after this discussion with After the Rain but that’s on hold for now.

Real Clothes and Oishii Kankei are what would be counted as more mature shoujo series, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. The characters themselves are a bit less… dramatic (?) and the drama revolves around their life situations more. I preferred Real Clothes as I think the main character is more relatable – she’s simply a hard-working, career-focused woman who happens to find her calling and the manga does reflect that. It also implies that fashion both can and cannot be learned in interesting ways.

TV

Doctor Who is back on TV! The new 13th Doctor has really grown on me in just a few episodes and the writing is definitely getting there, wherever ‘there’ is. The older series are also on Netflix so I’ve been watching a bit of the Ninth Doctor here and there! There are some fantastic one-liners in those early episodes and I’ve missed them.

doc-who-11

As Doctor Who is now on a Sunday, I happen to flick over from watching Bradley Walsh as the new companion to Bradley Walsh as host of The Chase. I tend to only catch the final round or so, but it’s still a bit of fun.

Then I even stick around to watch the X Factor results(!) although I don’t see the live Saturday shows. I think the X Factor needs to die for a few years then come back for a reboot – as a singing show, it tends to favour the same types of contestants and it ends up predictable. I’m not saying bring Produce 101 over to the UK but… okay, maybe K-Pop has really spoiled me. I can’t watch performances in the UK and be genuinely impressed anymore.

Gaming

In terms of games, I’ve got Mario Party now but we won’t get its full use for another few months when my brother returns home for the holidays. Of course, I have preordered Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and I’m insanely excited for that.

HiddenFolks-v0.7-City
Hidden Folks, an example of a map (taken from their website).

I’ve recently bought Hidden Folks which is a very simple, black and white interactive finding game in the vein of ‘wheres wally?’ It’s best played on the touchscreen so I’ve enjoyed cosying in bed to play this for short bursts of time and finding things in their huge maps.

I’ve also been playing Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice on the 3DS, which I’m loving but finding hard to play in long stretches with my timetable. I don’t know about other fans, but I found AA: Apollo Justice to be necessary to the series, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. Now that Apollo is teamed with Athena I definitely seem to enjoy him more as a character.

Music

I’m mildly obsessed with IZ*ONE at the moment, especially Sakura and Nako. As usual, I tend to watch a couple of episodes of the latest Produce series, pick my favourites, then drop the show until the group is formed. After I.O.I, the post-show team have certainly learnt how to launch a group to success.

Below: my fellow smol Nako and my OG stan, Sakura. Both are from J-line, i.e. the AKB quarter of the group.

I was pleasantly surprised by the more mature and elegant cute theme as I was expecting a more bubblegum pop style from the lineup, and I particularly love the choreography in their debut song, La Vie En Rose. The flower motifs stand out and although the powerful pre-chorus is hit-and miss it seems, I absolutely love it. This debut also has me sold on Wonyoung, the show winner and group center, as I was unsure about her win but she seems totally at home in that position with her obvious charm.

IZ_WONYOUNG-2
The shot from the MV that sold me on Wonyoung.

Recently I’ve gotten the urge to learn kpop dances, too, which is great as I’ve got two left feet and bad stage fright(!) so I’ve been learning the choruses to La Vie En Rose and Siren by Sunmi. One day I shall slay those random dance challenges but not yet.

sunmi siren.gif
Siren by Sunmi.

Here are a few more songs I have been loving:

Oh shoot, over 1400 words? I’d better wrap this up!! This is what happens when I don’t update in a while! I hope you all discover something new to watch or read through my Edit today, and keep and eye out for the next one!

Until Next Time,

X

P.S. It’s a shame blogging doesn’t count towards National Novel Writing Month, as a word count of 1400 words is really valuable! HAHA (sob)

Year-End Media Editorial 2017

I actually really enjoy doing this type of post and the only thing that ever puts me off writing these is knowing I have to add a billion hyperlinks at the end. Anyhow, that means I have a lot to chat about since like, March (!!), so let’s get started! This is what I’ve been enjoying since I started Uni.

Anime

Amagi Brilliant Park – I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I joined the anime society at uni. We gather to watch stuff on Friday nights which is so much fun and this was one of the series we watched. It’s my pick of the four we got through this term (not counting My Hero Academia… wait, have I not written about it here??). ABP is about a high school student called in to help manage a fun theme park until it hits a target visitor count or else all its fairy inhabitants will be made homeless (and die). Surprisingly enjoyable, and if you manage to get to the end, the OVA is totally worth it and made me split my sides with laughter.

Boku no Hero Academia – I am rectifying that I’ve never mentioned it, immediately. It’s about a superhero high school and… I just love a lot of things about it. I’m currently reading the manga although the anime adaptation is nothing to laugh at, either, as it captures the greatness of the manga very well.

Perfect Blue – My favourite movie of the Friday nights (not including Ghibli movies and Your Name), it was an intense psychological thriller and it made me grateful for the giant umbrella I carried with me on the way home… It’s about a pop star who quits her group and turns to acting, but obviously, with the way I’ve described it, that’s clearly not all there is to it.

X-Story – My favourite of the short movie night and probably because I am excited for the Incredibles 2, seeing as it gave me the same vibes. It’s totally worth the 13 minutes and the whole thing is on youtube.

Gaming

I’ve been playing The World Ends With You emulated on my phone since April (although you can buy a phone adapted version on app stores now, for about £18.00) and it’s nothing short of fantastic. Even post-storyline there’s plenty of bonuses and collectables to keep you occupied for months. It has a really unique setting and gameplay method with lots of adjustable difficulty levels for everyone, even a noob like me.

As a side note, I and many other have been obsessed with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp recently. I feel like it still needs some expansion to really match the DS games but that hasn’t stopped me from playing it all the time, anyhow.

Music

As usual, all linked into one playlist as well as separate links in the song names down below.

LOONA’s Odd Eye Circle – Girl Front, LOONATIC (English Ver.) A predebut group who have been revealing a new member every month for the last year or so (their name is from the first hangul characters of the phrase ‘Girl of the Month’ in Korean), I didn’t really get into the first sub-unit but Odd Eye Circle has really caught my eye and no doubt will the next as well. JinSoul’s Singing in the Rain is what got me following the group and Kim Lip’s Eclipse is also a total bop. Also, there’s Yves starting off the next subunit of girls, and Chuu who is the most recently revealed member and whose MV isn’t even out yet!

Rita Ora – Anywhere  – Simple and catchy, and totally a big mood for me right now!

Polkadot Stingray – Synchronishica – As you can tell from the next few entries, I have been scouring Youtube for Japanese bands again. I love the bridge of this song and the change of pace right there.

Indigo La End –  Misekake no Love Song – Think a cold evening, on the commute home, thinking about a love story that never happened, or just being sad for no reason. This isn’t a big mood but damn if it’s not my everyday mood. I also like Omoikiri for something upbeat but also just as desolate.

Kavka Shishido – Love Corrida –  A drumming soloist. I love her poker straight long hair and this is a total pop-rock jam. I also like ‘Dame Kashira‘ (more pop) and ‘Music‘ (more rock).

Red Velvet – I Just, Look – The fact that we got three promo cycles from RV this year is nothing short of amazing. The new album, ‘Perfect Velvet’, isn’t quite the masterpiece that ‘The Red’ was, but these are real standout tracks for me.

Sheena Ringo – Life is Full of Dreams (or something like that)- How about a jazzy number to really get your blood pumping and your spirit all lifted and motivated? Something about Sheena Ringo’s voice in this song brings a real life to it. On top of it, this album, Reimport, is taken from the fact that all the tracks are covers of songs she wrote for other artists, hence ‘re-importing’ them. Isn’t that a cool concept? I’d love to see more of this sort of thing from anyone.


That’s what I’ve been enjoying recently! All the best for the New Year. Much love,

X

 

The March 2017 Media Editorial

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.

Lyrical Music

(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,

X

 

 

The Things I Have Done Instead of Hibernation.

I am still strangely content with the progression of life and things right now. How strange is that?

It’s true that I am tired, though. We are approaching the end of term and right now we all just want to hibernate until Mock Exams are over or something. But despite those exams looming I don’t feel anywhere near as overwhelmed as I did last year. I still haven’t rediscovered the feeling of focus, but nowadays I can just sit down and do work, as long as I force myself to start it, and I won’t feel dead inside or anything, which is a key difference from last year.

Another thing is that, whilst I’m still making time for (not having time is no excuse) and working on my hobbies, they’re cutting less into my work time. How should I say it… I’m doing less of it as procrastination and that’s good.

Recently I picked up the graphics tablet again and did various spots of practice because it has just been that long since I tried digital drawing. Trying again now is like doing it as if I’m a fresh beginner, with the skills I’ve developed last year. I usually post a lot of my work on Instagram first (@swanzig_x) so have a look if you’d like to see what I’ve been working on.

That being said, I’ve abandoned my knitting and I think something needs to be done about it. I’ll probably pick it up as therapy for the oncoming Mocks. It’s never a bad thing to have too many hobbies, because there’s a time and place for all of them, and I don’t consider any of them to be unproductive. Even watching anime series, that’s like writing research, really.

Speaking of anime series, I have been watching one during school lunches for the last two weeks, and just finished the first season this morning. Darker Than Black is by no means new, having first been aired in 2007, but if you love Tokyo Ghoul or Attack on Titan or anime with such themes as exploring two worlds in the same place, then this one is one to watch. It’s slow going at first as you get your head around the setting and characters, but once it gets going it’s surprisingly gripping. I am debating starting the second season, but I am really quite happy with how the first one ended so I might just stop there so I can revert to my studying self. Then again, it might just carry me though my lunchtime sessions next term. We’ll see.

Lastly, I have made it into one of the school teams for archery! I have no idea what this means in terms of competing and things but  this is exciting nonetheless. Better late than never, considering that this is my last school year and therefore my last chance to be in a school team anyway since my school year ends earlier too!
image

We recently had a go at shooting balloons, which was loads of fun. I was on a roll during that session, and shot the most, haha!

Until next time,

X

Inktober 2015: 21-31

[Trigger warning: gore] -ish. I personally think you have to be really squeamish to be afraid of my drawings…

Well, this is very, very late, but here we are at the final installment of Inktober posts. Honestly? I completely forgot about this ever happening. I did finish like 5 drawing in one day with half an hour left to go, but as soon as I was done I fell asleep, and the next day? I started NaNoWriMo.

Inktober was a very big challenge for me to take on over the course of the month, and I am very happy just to have completed it this year. Most of the challenge came from generating new ideas from nowhere and finding the time to complete it. I really wish I could make enough time to bring out all my effort into my drawings without sacrificing the time I need for studying. I doubt that it will get any easier to do, but I hope I will actually remember to do Inktober next year on top of starting university!

X

Inktober 2015 Round-up: Days 11-20. (Featuring some #NaNoWriMo2015 characters!)

Here come the next 10 drawings from Inktober! I fell so far behind during the last week of term meaning that I had to draw at least 3 drawings a day if I wanted to finish on Halloween. I’d rather not run over into November because that is a whole new kettle of fish… It’s #NaNoWriMo!

As you can see, I started to integrate some NaNoWriMo characters into Inktober so I’m technically multitasking. If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, in which budding writers of all ages and genres attempt to write a novel in 30 days. I have attempted it twice and ‘failed’ both times. This year I am going to make a more determined effort at it. I have planned out some cool stuff and actually signed up to the site for once!

As Inktober has just finished I’ll hopefully have the rest of the pictures up on the blog in a few days.

Until then…

X

Inktober Weekly Round Up #1: Days 1-10

I may have mentioned in passing that I’m taking part in Inktober 2015, which is a social media hashtag project thing in which artists everywhere draw an ink piece once a day. This could be a doodle or a huge thing depending on time constraints, and in biro, india ink, pen or brush, whatever, but pencil is outlawed unless it’s for the outlining/under-sketch-thing. Ink is a very bold and versatile medium and definitely requires its own set of skills that I need to work on.

Even if you don’t have instagram, search up #inktober2015 wherever you can hashtag things, because some of the works people so are absolutely stunning. It’s a good way to find amazing inkers for inspiration.

Anyways, this weekly round up is really late as I did run behind on the drawings themselves…

If there’s anything I have learnt so far, it’s that I don’t have a specific style. I can draw chibi figures and semi-realistic faces, and my ‘style’ takes a lot of influence from the large variety of manga out there. Basically, my definition of manga drawing has broadened as I’ve read through series like Assassination Classroom (close, but with a sort of twist that makes it different) and Claymore, both having a manga feel but definitely not the style you are likely to see almost everywhere. Now my drawing style kind of reflects that variety.

Speaking of which, there’s an Anime Club at my school now, and we watched the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club. I love the manga series, and the anime, whilst it doesn’t quite follow the same plot, is just as entertaining. I haven’t watched the anime since possibly two years ago, so watching it with my friends was a new experience. As in, I almost choked on my lunch because I was so excited! A surprising number of people came to the club and filled the classroom, and although it was a teeny bit chatty (but we all shushed each other), everyone else laughed at the right places and.. it was fun. We’ll probably be regulars now.

Until next time,

X