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

 

 

Two weeks seems like a long time ago now but I finally did some socializing yesterday, visiting DD’s house for a movie marathon with VW as well (who I hadn’t seen – or messaged because before I knew it, months had passed and how do you start a conversation then??-  in a year and missed to bits. Will be sure to keep in touch now!)

In the morning I arrived first, but only because VW had overslept. D made me watch ‘Happy Tree Friends’ as we waited – an innocent, childish cartoon until the animals all start dying in quite gory ways (I have examples but where do I start? The badger-I-Think who got stabbed in the brain with a plank of nails or the moose who basically got grated from the bottom up by the rollercoaster track? Think Final Destination’s rollercoaster scene with cute bunny rabbits and squirrels) . It is a gory interpretation of cartoon violence, in which the bloody content is turned up to the max. Never let your children near Netflix, lest they stumble upon this by accident. Heavens forbid that happens.

I think the plan was to have a movie marathon via Netflix, but this plan was slowly abandoned because we just couldn’t decide on what to watch. A Disney Film? A Thriller? Why is ‘Tangled’ not on Netflix???

We settled on three selective episodes of Adventure Time ( which I recall as ‘The One Where Finn Has Hair’, ‘The One With Bubblegum’s Pink Sweater’ and ‘The One Where Jake Meets Lady Rainicorn’s Parents’), then paraded into the kitchen to make mini cupcakes with D’s mini cupcake maker. That plan was abandoned too because the aforementioned cupcake maker seemed a bit suspicious. We went with 12 normal sized cupcakes and the conventional oven eventually. You really can’t go wrong with these.


I got four to take home and Derp snapped one up as soon as I returned, so the ones in the photo are the ones that were left. They are far from perfect as they were mistreated in the car on the way home but hey, they tasted amazing – so rich and buttery we could’ve left out the icing and they would still be great.

I think this calls for a future baking party of some sort – as long as it’s not held at my house. I love baking but our oven doesn’t agree with anyone, let alone me. 

X

Must Knit to Quell the Urge to Eat during GBBO…

Okay, so when I started writing ‘weekly thoughts’ it was because the things that happened in my life were far too momentous to put into their own posts. Then all of my personal writing became the weekly thoughts so now I’m trying to switch it back a bit.

I guess I am still finding my feet with this blog by experimenting which can be a bit annoying (you can contact me to tell me what you like, though! That’s why I set up an email and Twitter! Just sayin’.) but it’s also quite exciting as well. 

The Great British Bake Off is back, if you didn’t know. I was super excited all day and did a bunch of things to prepare. I roughly tidied up my room, made a hot drink, had a new knitting project ready, and BBC iPlayer in live mode because Dad and Aunt were actually using the TV for something for once- and there was none of the usual WiFi lag and quality problem, I got a crisp image almost all the way through the program and it. Was. Great.
I learnt that morning that more people watched last year’s final than those that watched the Fifa World Cup Final, which I think is amazing, and #GBBO hit #1 on Twitter’s worldwide trending list that evening. If I remember correctly, GBBO has racked up the first episode views every year by about 2 million and this year it was no different is it gathered about 9.3 million/43% viewers! It has become an essentially British thing and I love it.

Oh yes… I did just say I started a new knitting project just to celebrate.

It is being made to the Lael Cowl pattern (I will give it a personal name related to baking as it is my GBBO knitting project – but it’s not quite a Black Forest Gateau *wink*) using Stylecraft’s Life Chunky in Colourway ‘Mixtures Bracken’. This colourway is acceptably close enough to chocolate and a great neutral colourway for this winter. No reason not to start early with my knitting speed, though.

I underestimated the big-ness of it – it is also supposed to be my short break between bits of the Ilene Bag, but now I’ve finished the cast on which took me the best of half the GBBO episode, it feels like it will take a bit longer. I think I’ll just switch again when I am bored or literally just knit this on GBBO days and the Ilene Bag on the other days.

Hopefully I can get this cowl finished by the time the final rolls around!

X

Things that Happened (#6)

(posted a few days ago but reined in again for editing…)

This would normally be your Weekly Thoughts segment but I think this has become a more accurate title!

  1. We’ve harvested our first batch of strawberries: a ripe little handful of deliciousness…
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  2. I finished some books recently that I didn’t post about. ‘The Winner’s Curse’ by Marie Rutkoski was recommended to me by AT – I say recommended, but in reality, she ushered me to read it and revel in its flaws. It has a beautiful cover, which is its main redeeming point. Aye, it looks beautiful on any bookshelf.
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    The tale is about a generals daughter who bids on a slave purely because he can sing, and bids a ridiculously high price, invoking the wrath of the mythical ‘Winner’s Curse’, which mostly involves her falling in love with aforementioned slave.
    There are several points in the book that AT and I agreed downgraded an otherwise promising story, the main one being that an ‘important’ death was really only used as a [pretty terrible] plot device to propel the MC into action, and then the dead person wasn’t mentioned again, so was she really that important?
    When I share a book I sometimes like to post-it note the inside to share certain thoughts on the book with the next person to read it. AT actually writes in the book (shock horror) with pencil and pink highlighter (gasp!) but I smiled at every note – I agree with all of her little thoughts.
  3. I also finished the second book in the Mara Dyer series, ‘The Evolution of Mara Dyer’ by Michelle Hodkin. At this stage, the only thing I can say for certain, is that I will  definitely be reading the last book just to find out how it ends. It takes a different turn from the first book. I still dislike the love interest/boyfriend, Noah. DSC_0206
  4. Game of Thrones – I started watching season one last Saturday and finished it the following night. It has been on my to-watch list since last year but I am glad it took me this long to begin, as it is both very bloody and very sexual, such that I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it this time last year.
    Also, after watching Mark Addy’s performance in BBC’s Atlantis, I was surprised to see him play Robert Baratheon so stunningly in GoT. The production is also fantastic. I mean, how often do you see a show that includes the decapitation, spearing and stabbing of both man and horse, and manages to include it all so realistically? There was so much realistic blood, which made it fascinating to watch.
    If you can look past the sex and gore, it’s definitely a must watch for the plot and its twists, and there’s no wonder it’s so popular.
  5. I finished the Purse Stitch Scarf and wore it around the house all weekend! It’s light enough that I can start wearing it as soon as the days get a teeny bit cooler and warm enough to wear into the beginnings of winter. It’s also made with one skein and turned out wide and long enough so I am very happy with how it has turned out. I think that a photoshoot is in order for some of my recent FOs…

I’m keeping my Game Of Thrones binging to the weekends otherwise nothing will get done!

X