Quarterly Media Editorial: Winter 2018

Hi everyone!
I hope you’ve all had a nice Easter. Spring has properly landed (or at least, this is as much as we are gonna get in the UK) and we are a quarter of the way into the year already, so it’s time for me to sum up my media consumption of the last few months in a handy blog post.
I thought that I should begin to include blogs and social media, perhaps. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but not sure where for now. I think it will be its own separate quarterly segment featuring small bloggers and influencers.
Here though, I’ll include my favourite ‘bigger’ YouTube channels, so to speak, because these days even channels with a moderate following can get buried so I hope that, as usual, reading this will help you discover something new.

Anime

Made in Abyss – A really cutely styled fantasy revolving around a seemingly bottomless pit called the Abyss. Well… it has surprisingly dark elements at times but that was kind of refreshing actually.
Spice and Wolf – with a medieval setting and an economically driven plot, Spice and Wolf was a surprising hit with me. The plot revolves around currency changes, of all things, which is not my strong point so I did have to get a friend to explain bits to me. Otherwise, there is a healthy splash of fantastical elements and overall, I really enjoyed this as something fresh and new.
Gurenn Lagann – We watched the movie at the anime society, which summed up the first half of the main televised series. I eventually got around to watching a bit of the anime myself as I really enjoyed the movie. It’s about humans fighting to live on Earth’s surface, using giant mechas, which didn’t sound like my kind of thing but was hugely enjoyable nevertheless. I actually enjoyed the movie more so far- whilst there were missing elements from the series skipped throughout, I much preferred the movie’s pace and I’m finding those parts of the series a little boring.

Films:

The only movie worth being in this section is Black Panther, to be honest. I’m not one to watch films in the cinema twice, usually, but to say this was fantastic would be a real understatement. I also watched The Greatest Showman and whilst I enjoyed it, it was missing that something to truly wow me.

Youtube:

I admit I don’t watch a lot of bloggertube, so to speak. I usually just stick to my favourite casual channels and watch whatever pops up on my recs, which often isn’t much.
Lisa Eldridge – With the rise of the ‘Insta glam’ makeup style I’ve really been craving more natural looks and overall simpler makeup. If you just want to learn the ins and outs of simple makeup, Lisa is the lady to go to. She has done magazine editorials, works for Lancome as Creative Director and also features other professional artists in the industry on her channel. Even from the most simple look, you can learn so much to apply to your own makeup.
Matilda – I am really enjoying Matilda’s video style which is completely her voice, over the products she mentions on a whiteboard – quite minimal! She does reviews of makeup and lip balms, and her videos are really short and sweet – a great appeal when I don’t want to sit through a twenty-minute video because I’d rather watch anime.

Music

As usual, here is a playlist containing all the songs in this Editorial! They’re all Korean. I did my best to sum up my favourite new listens of the last season although this doesn’t include the long phases of songs on repeat throughout.

I actually heard of Uhm Jung Hwa through her brother and niece being on Return of Superman. No way is she in her 50s. Excuse me while I google her skincare routine.
I’m still obsessed with LOONA, who have been so consistent in building up their Loonaverse with great music. I’m still left wondering – if all of this is only pre-debut stuff how blown away will I be by their official debut? My favourite member so far is Jinsoul with Chuu and Yves tied a close second and Kim Lip and ViVi tied for third!
These two songs have dominated the Korean charts over the last few months, so of course they’ve been played a lot! BOOM BOOM is fully elevated thanks to JooE in their live performances.
I admit I was quite skeptical of Ikon myself but this more chilled hip hop infused direction is probably their most popular style in Korea so it was a perfect choice to re-establish themselves after a long tour abroad.
Ko Ko Bop took more than half a year to properly grow on me and I completely slept on Rollin, but these two songs have had their moments on repeat whilst I did university assignments.

WJSN – Dreams Come True

This wouldn’t normally be my usual song style of choice (I tend to favour anything with a teen crush or not-cute concept) but I’ve slowly been getting into it. It was the performance of this song that truly got me, though. I love the point dances and how well dramatic the choreography is, especially Cheng Xiao’s chorus parts, the star point of Exy’s rap and the bridge/refrain. I know Secret is a popular favourite of their songs but I think I like this more.

Mamamoo – Starry Night
Got7 – Look
BoA – One Shot, Two Shot

Starry Night isn’t Mamamoo’s best, in my opinion, so I actually included it because the video is stunning and I love rewatching it. Got7’s Look, on the other hand, was okay at first but the dance really grew on me and the song soon after. One Shot, Two Shot is just plain catchy.

(Notable mentions are Havana, Cut to the Feeling, Like Paradise by Kriesha Chu, All Night by Long:D and Doyeon (of I.O.I and Weki Meki))

My music list changes so often throughout the months and even as I type, there are new releases from Olivia Hye of LOONA as well as WINNER (have you all SEEN Yoon’s hair, I died).

Check out some of my other music posts from the last few months:

Some Songs and an Attempt To Sum Up My Month

#Playlist: Ghosts

Until next time,

X

#Playlist: Ghosts

Hi everyone!

I wasn’t sure whether to do this or not, but I’m worried that my content is suffering these days and I’m not putting out the quality I want. So I want to be sure I’m taking time to work on them properly and making sure I am including all the information I want to. I know I finally got some photos and all, but along with uni work I’m struggling to get my words up to the standard I want.

So you probably won’t see another post this week and might just see less posting from me for a while depending on how these next few weeks go. I have a few events lined up to fill the week before the term ends, so that’s also quite exciting. It’s wild that I’m over halfway through my first year at university.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling like my music needs a bit more shaking up again whilst I work on this assignment for university. Before you ask… Did I dive down into a pit of music recommendations from YouTube that I actually liked? Yes, the answer is yes.

It’s inspired this playlist of recent discoveries with a dash of songs I felt just fit right in here. It’s not too upbeat. As much as I love my pop music, I have a soft spot for music that’s kind of whimsical and dreamy but there are also some very specific things I like. Sort of deep and mildly depressing and perhaps a soundtrack for the non-existent aimless midnight wander.

Today’s playlist is a mix of English language and Korean language tracks.

Ashmute (Korean)Ghost, Scenery, Inferno – I really like the dreamy feel coming from this trio, and how they play around with the pace of their songs. My favourite of these is Ghost but Scenery has really grown on me. K-Indie tends to be kind of hit-and-miss for me as I focus on sound rather than lyrics and a lot of K-Indie can sound similar to me, but this is really nice.

Kailee MorgueGhost of Mine, Medusa – I initially got some Melanie Martinez vibes from Morgue’s vocals on Ghost of Mine. I really like this kind of music – the kind that’s just really strange and haunting but not too deep like Ruelle’s Madness – I like that sound too but not all the time.

Bipolar SunshineDaydreamer – Well… This playlist could do with some happy. I’m definitely up for listening to more Bipolar Sunshine now that I have discovered them, this is a jam.

DJ SnakeMiddle (ft. Bipolar Sunshine) – It’s funny, I do love the odd DJ Snake track I come across but I always forget to dive into their discography. This is the most upbeat track on the playlist.

MothicaOut of It – In doing a little bit of research on Mothica I saw the words ‘gloom pop’. At last, a word for the genre of music I like. I’ll go searching later for songs under this umbrella, haha.

Sojung of Ladies’ Code (Korean)Crystal Clear – Sojung has one of the most distinctive voices in the mainstream K-Pop scene and I really miss Ladies’ Code and love their newer songs so it is lovely to hear her singing again. I want to hear her in a long with Lee Hi one day. I think their voices would resonate well together.

Heize (Korean) – Jenga – There’s something odd about the end of the hook that I really like. What is it, dissonance? It was odd but now I really like it. I first watched Heize on Unpretty Rapstar 2 for a bit and really liked her as well as Kitti B and Yubin.

Heyne (Korean) – Insomnia (Unofficial, included to omit the snoring in the official MV)|Official MV – Heyne’s unusual voice is what stopped this from being too boring for me. That and perhaps the fact that she’s actually 26-ish and looks (and sounds) younger than me!

Tei ShiNevermind The End (unofficial)|Official MV, Say You Do (unofficial)| Official MV – I’ve been listening a lot to these two tracks recently. They’re just really nice to loop.

FazerdazeLucky Girl – I’m hoping this is a nice choice to tie off the playlist as well as leading back to the beginning when I feel like it.

I hope you’ve discovered something that you like today. I’ll get back to writing my uni assignment now!

Until next time,

X

Some Songs and an Attempt To Sum Up My Month

Hi everyone!

It’s the last day of February now. Compared to January, this month really flew by and lots of things happened. I didn’t just want to write about my month, so I tried to find the best songs in my music library to express the things that happened.

Since I listen to a lot of Korean Pop, I had to google a lot of the lyrics for the first time, haha. I was surprised to find that a lot of the sweeter love songs didn’t quite match the meaning I wanted for this song selection.

Galantis – In My Head | I actually don’t have much to say about this one, it’s sort of self-explanatory, lyric-wise.

Namie Amuro – Birthday | Also moderately self-explanatory, seeing as it was my birthday this month AND this year it’s also unintentionally been a case of “new year, slightly-better me”.

Melanie Martinez – Soap (Sailors Remix)| I am working on a sort-of filter for when I say things. I say stupid things, get annoyed myself for staying stuff and then take it out on someone else and what the heck, Swanna? PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER. Also, I’ve started letting out the occasional swear word at work, which isn’t good when I am working with kids. Luckily, it’s all been out of earshot but that needs work, too.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Warm Blood | For the longest time, as much as I adore this song to bits, I didn’t really get it. It sounds like a love song that is borderline creepy due to the blood imagery. But I was daydreaming up a music video for this recently and something just clicked.
I recently went out to the pub to hang out with some friends. My alcohol tolerance is really low, everyone. I felt my heart pounding after one glass of wine, and I stood up and my head spun and my hearing went muffled which was quite scary until I was outside for a bit. But anyway, that was the experience that made this song make sense, and what inspired me to write this entire blog post. It’s just a dreamy, muffled feeling of drunk happy.

Red Velvet – My Second Date | Okay, so I’m not quite at Date #2 yet. Did I tell you about how I had a Valentine’s blog post all ready, about being single and stuff? Yeah, you didn’t see it, because it wasn’t really relevant to me anymore. Yeah… Suddenly I wasn’t exactly single. As the song says, “from A to Z, it’s all so awkward”.
Dates are really weird, everyone.

Kisses are even weirder. I was tempted to include 3OH!3’s “My First Kiss” (which, to reference the lyrics, didn’t go ANYTHING like this) but no. Not that my expectations were high, but my YA fantasies have been proper shattered, LOL.

LOONA / Yves & Chuu – Girls’ Talk | Typically, all my close friends got almost-live updates as all this dating stuff happened, so despite me saying ‘oh my lawd guys don’t tell anyone’ they all know anyway. All the recent happenings were just so bizarre. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are moments with this guy that are really sweet and sappy and stuff and I do like messaging him (and also my friends) in the dead of night. That’s part of the reason this song is on this playlist.

But, on the other hand, it’s this gossipy part of the experience that makes it feel sort of like… a game. I won’t lie when I say I tell my friends things just to seek reactions, and that those reactions are entertaining. So, it’s not that I particularly care if people find out, but I don’t want certain people to tease me into oblivion. ANYWAY. Am I even making sense?


That was something just a little random for a mid-week, end-of-month post. I hope you enjoyed that!

Until next time,

X

[Makeup and Chatter] Paramore in Birmingham

Despite the makeup I have, I don’t do a base and eyes all that often. A full face is reserved only for special days, like a concert. I took out a lot of items I hadn’t been using for a while and got to play around with my look a bit. Today’s chatter / extra post is basically about what I wore and how it wore throughout the day! Also, some extra gushing for obvious reasons.

Before we begin, I obviously have to mention that my skin is oily and I wore all of this for 12 hours straight, with only a minor top up at about the 6 hour mark for some items.

(The cat ears, earrings AND the comfy grey turtleneck are all from New Look. What is it with me and my attempts to look cool? I TRIED, OKAY? Also, what do you think of the hair?? I’m still undecided!!)

Eyes:

Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer – all over the lid and under the outer corner too.

Makeup Revolution Neutrals VS New-trals Eye Palette – shades Trend on the inner half, Suit on the outer half, Strong in the outer corner) (Speaking of which, I want to re-take the photos from that review soon. Sure, my palette is less than perfect now but I’m not entirely satisfied with the photos of that palette…)

Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette (Laetus as a base, Saleos under the outer corner, Shax right at the corner and to help smoke out the eyeliner just a teeny bit.) (Note to self to re-take photos for this post too!)

CLIO Kill Black Brush Pen Liner – Forever my love.

CLIO Salon de Cara Back Comb Long and Curl MascaraHeld my curls all freaking day, although I think my tube is getting a bit old and dry. I guess I should re-buy it soon if it’s still available.

Notes – My eye makeup looked EXACTLY the same as it did when I applied it. The shadow does rub off a bit but the CLIO liner is still steadfast. There is only one (1) minor crease on my right eyelid where some darker product migrated. My eyelid doesn’t even look shiny. You wouldn’t think they were oily at all. What is this magic??

I even teared up a bit when Paramore played Ain’t It Fun (and nothing smudged). That song is essentially my happy anthem, my hype anthem. I don’t know why I always cry at concerts. Maybe it’s because I just never thought I’d get to go to any.

(Here is your obligatory crappy gig photo from my phone. Taken during Hate To See Your Heart Break)

Base:

The Ordinary High-Adherance Silicone Primer

Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer in Light – All over the centre area of my face! It used to be too light for my skintone (and thus, a highlight shade) but now it’s pretty much a perfect match.

Innisfree No Sebum Powder (to set) – using a powder brush

Jolse Blotting Sheets (to top up later) – Often given out as a freebie when purchasing from them, I like these as they aren’t powdery. However I find myself using more than one to blot my face. More like two or three.

Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot Powder (to top up later) – using a powder brush

Notes – I used to have issues with the primer as it often would go patchy and cause my makeup to pat off instead of staying on my face. This time, I had new cushion puffs (my preferred way of application) to replace my old ones. I spread a very thin layer of the primer on (I used to do thick layers), sprayed a little of La Roche Posay Serozinc on the puff (I’m just trying to use it up) and tapped the concealer out very very gently.

I was obviously very shiny at the 6 hour mark despite Innisfree’s No Sebum being my favourite powder to date (the record is about 3 or 4 hours before I get shiny) so this was inevitable. At the end of the 12 hours, there were noticeable breakdowns on my inner cheek and nose and a bit on my upper lip. Estee Lauder Double Wear does not break down below my nose as gracefully. Just sayin.

Lips

New Look Pure Colour Lip Liner – this liner is from just before New Look revamped their makeup line, so I don’t think you can find it anymore.

P.S. Black Lip Liner – Primark makeup was (well, it sort of still is…) quite inconsistent in its lineup. Either they had the colour you needed, or they didn’t. It was hard to find a black lipliner back then so I snapped this fast.

NARS Train Bleu – I love the NARS Velvet matte lip pencil range, although if I had to say there were duds, this might be one of them. But look – if you’re okay with wearing this dark lip for no longer than a few hours it’s fine. It showed noticeable gaps in my lip lines by the 6 hour mark and I had to reapply with a lip brush.

This photo above was taken by my friend, Nicole. As you might be able to tell I’m not exactly a fan of trying to stand at a concert with my height…

Actually, now that I am thinking about it, I don’t really have much to say about the concert itself! Hayley Williams is a total sweetheart (nothing new) and I had an amazing night and really enjoyed myself. If I’m going to be super honest, After Laughter is not my favourite album of Paramore’s (although I adore Told You So TO BITS!) but it’s an album I just like to play as a whole for the mood and jam and be happy to. Most of the songs from the set were from the album so it was just a happy night and really lifted my mood!

Until next time,

X


Days since last buying lipstick: 22

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

 

My Experience at G-Dragon’s ‘Act III: MOTTE’ Tour in Birmingham

I may have recounted this story a number of times, but I got into K-pop because a family friend spent her gap year in Korea and came back with a K-pop mix on a CD, full of Bigbang and SHINee’s old hits and Lee Hyori’s U Go Girl. We played it when her mom picked us up from school all the time, and Haru Haru was my favourite song for an age and a half.
That was like, ten years ago. I listen to K-pop like I listen to just about everything else – casually and not as obsessively as I used to, but if you strike a K-pop conversation with me I’m not going to stop talking. Where do I even get all these trivia from? I don’t even know. I joined the K-Soc at my uni so hopefully, I will make friends who I can be just as chatty with.
Anyway. G-Dragon held a concert in Birmingham recently, and I knew whatever it cost, I would end up going. It was very pricey for a concert so I settled for a seat that was still £120+. GD was my first love of K-pop but I don’t love him as much now to pay £200+ for the VIP Silver Soundcheck package like a certain relative of mine… (You don’t even get to meet him for that money…)
It was my first concert at Genting so I was quite excited! I ended up there many hours early since I was tagging along with VIPers but that meant I could grab food and still be in my seat an hour and a half before the show started. It also meant the wait for the show to start was pretty much unbearable.
The Genting Arena doesn’t allow fancy cameras like my DSLR (darn it!!) so I am still stuck with the phone camera I used last year, sadly, which is why my photos are less than impressive. I spent the rest of my time jamming along to everything he performed.
The show was all bright lights and dark visuals. MOTTE, for G-Dragon himself, is a show exploring himself- his identity as GD and as Kwon Ji Yong, and it did feel quite personal, also including video interviews with his friends and family. The setlist started from his old hits and ended with almost all the songs from his most recent EP, Kwon Ji Yong. It was separated into three acts this way.
I noticed people were more hyped towards the second act when he performed more recent and well-known songs (and especially CROOKED in the encore because we UK fans have a soft spot for it – he filmed the video in London). It was a shame people weren’t as excited for A-YO and Obsession as I was, though! They are two of my favourite songs by GD.
I met some wonderful fellow concert-goers whilst there. From the pair of girls waiting for food to the girl I sat next to as we both went to the concert alone, to the girls who helped me charge my phone and find my relative after the battery died, and also got me the poster that is now on my wall. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my casual listening of K-pop and this night was no different.
I am so happy that there have been more K-pop concerts in the UK recently (Crush, ZICO, Dean, GD and KARD all in the last year and Hyukoh next month) so I get to indulge in live music I love. I am putting my bets on BTS being the next big act to hit the UK, seeing as they are doing fabulously internationally.
Who are you waiting on to hold a concert?
Until next time,
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,

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