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)

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

 

 

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

My Experience Buying from TokyoToys

So, I guess this is a short review of sorts. TokyoToys is a store specialising in anime/manga themed and other Japanese products. They are based in the UK and their website was the first that I checked out when looking for anime-themed items for DD’s birthday.

I made my order – two items plus delivery totaling £27 – and made the payment, so I was expecting the items to arrive within three days max in line with their delivery information. When 5 days had passed I began to worry, and when I visited the website, my shopping cart was still full with the items making me wonder if my order had been processed. Then I checked my bank account and saw that the transaction had gone through. The day after, I sent them an email outlining my concerns. It was Saturday of the Bank Holiday Weekend so I was not expecting a reply until Tuesday. However, the day after, I received a reply.

After emailing them back to tell them what I had ordered, they also replied on Bank Holiday Monday, for which I’m very grateful for  – we returned to school on Friday so I needed those items fast for DD’s Present Time. The items were sent out right away and arrived Thursday morning, good timing as we were giving the gifts to her the next day! She loved them so all is forgiven. (The items were packaged in  a plastic bag and the invoice was literally the names of the items on the sheet of paper with my address on it… Now that there is a store in my city centre I probably won’t order from them online again.)

The problem seems to be a ‘rare, re-occurring error’. Whilst I am really glad that they sent out my order quickly and the customer help was indeed very helpful, I hope they sort out that error quickly.

X