It happened when we were 12, that night as we sailed on an ocean of stars. It was just us two in a canoe. You reached out and held my hand and in that moment, we let our thoughts collide. You knew what I knew. You felt what I felt but it was not too long before life drew us apart- we had our other loves and other concerns. Passing you in the hall, our eyes would meet, we would say cordial greetings but your face was a mask. Behind your eyes was a wall that blocked the window into your thoughts. I had known you all my life yet you had suddenly become a stranger to me. There was something that you kept from all of us. Even the day I met you on the riverbank, you held back. You said you were going away, that your only companion was solitude. But there was loneliness in your solitude, an unwillingness in your actions. Why else would you give me that protective collar? The weariness of carrying a burden alone was evident, but I could do nothing as you turned your back and walked away- idly toying with the wasp beads which spun round and round as if to repel anyone who tried to come closer.

Darkness in the northern sky, it was the day that I decided to find you, to help you because ultimately, despite the confusion and the hurt, you were still an important friend to me. I walked and walked till I came to a lake. The black sky was streaked with blue and orange, the land not green but white. Speckles of white dirt rose into the air, gleaming and levitating as if they had a will of their own. It was the effect of distortion from your brilliant mind. Destruction and death, you pushed me away, so far away till I felt that I could no longer reach you. I couldn’t help or do anything but watch the power consume and twist the nature around us. There were so many wasp beads and you had materialized out of a tree. It was both beautiful and strange. Then you lead me into your fortress of solitude- a rickety house on the hill. For 10 minutes you said, you’d let me in and let me be. I listened and listened not really understanding the rational explanation. I surveyed your gait- much thinner than whence I last saw you, your hair 2 inches longer and your face I could not see for it was covered by a solid white mask. Why was it you? Why were you the one to bear this? Why could life not go back to the way it was? You explained that there was no solution. I later came to know that you were embracing death. You sought release from this power that had turned you into a killer but even dying was a struggle. The basic survival instinct was deeply ingrained in that subconscious evil.

Then it came. The final judgment that would swallow up this experimental world. You were ready to lay it all down and finally go to rest. Its murky branches twisted and turned around you, the earth opened its gaping jaws to swallow you whole. You stood still, submitting to the fate that awaited. I wanted to stay, but you sent me flying straight back out of your crumbling fortress, away from the impending chaos. The solid white mask melted away as you stood, bound by Judgment and I saw your face. You looked at me and for once, in a long time I could see through the wall behind your eyes.

‘ I’ve always loved you’.

In that gentle voice, the same as it was when we were 12, you expressed those inexplicable feelings that were always there between us- the buds which were not given the chance to blossom.  Suddenly, everything in the past 2 years made sense and for that one second, I saw you for who you were once again; still that same boy who was constantly looking out for me and who had held my hand while out on the lake. There was a jeweled explosion and I was sent spiraling out of that now unpropitious construction of your mind. I looked back but the light was so bright that it hurt my eyes. When I could finally open them, I stopped to stare.

It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.

————–
So that’s my pathetic attempt to reconstruct the epic moment in Episode 10 of 新世界より。Just because I had to ( my feelings had to be dumped somewhere). I’ve strangely ended up writing prose….it’s weird because I seldom am inspired to do so.  Still pales in comparison to how wonderfully it was done in the anime itself. The build up, the art, the characters, the music….it was just so well put together.  I think I can highlight it as one of the most touching moments in anime that I’ve watched.

Last resort- haiku

January 7, 2014

jewelled explosion

what can I do with this phrase

day -dreaming nonsense

The Desolation of Smaug. I can’t begin to describe the epicness of this one. Can I also say that I thought it was way better than the first Hobbit movie which to me was a grand and endless chase, with events that just seemed….random. Oh and more Gollum. It’s not epic in the way that the Two Towers was – massive armies clashing, fighting like there’s no tomorrow or panoramic war scenes but Hobbit 2 had lots of substance packed into it which in itself made it epic. and I must say, there’s a lot of screen time that can be dedicated to other things when Gollum isn’t in the picture ( yes he is key, but quite uninteresting to watch after awhile). So the story continues with the company of dwarves and Gandalf being halfway on their journey towards the Lonely Mountain where the dwarves want to reclaim their grand mountain kingdom from Smaug and restore it to former glory. Tolkien must have been inspired by ‘ Hall of the Mountain King’ :P.

I thoroughly enjoyed the different facets that this instalment had to offer about Middle Earth. We got to see more of Middle Earth- the Woodlands, Lakeside. the dark, secret place where Sauron was breeding his army of auks, the tomb of one of the 9 ring wraiths as well as the mountain kingdom of the Dwarves and it was beautiful. Kudos for being able to really bring Middle Earth to life- effects, costumes, scenery all looked amazing. Yay New Zealand! Also,  so interesting to be able to see what exactly were the flaws of the older generations prior to LOTR characters also bear the characteristics that eventually led to the rise of darkness. Greed, Pride and Indifference. Gosh love the connections to LOTR 🙂 All in all, it was a pretty magical experience that really sucked you into the larger world of Middle Earth. Smaug was a pretty convincing dragon too! ( not like Saphira in Eragon) and I must say, Cumberbatch did a pretty solid job with his voice 🙂 I was convinced that Smaug was capricious and yet knowledgeable and ancient at the same time. Can’t believe that was his actual voice. I also loved all the side stories. The side plots that were going on at the same time were also well developed and action packed enough to be interesting. Yet at the same time, it wasn’t just action for the sake of slotting in some fighting (referring to the Legolas/Tauriel/Kili love line and Gandalf’s discovery of Sauron). Although this Legolas/Tauriel section was apparently added in and not original, I appreciated being able to be given some background into Legolas as we know next to nothing about him in LOTR other than that he is a pretty skilful elvish warrior. Of course, Gandalf’s discovery of Sauron makes perfect sense as well and I love how this foreshadows what happens in LOTR- It shows how Gandalf encountered Sauron ( Gandalf did say at some point in LOTR that he had seen the eye) and some insight into Sauron’s rise to power.  There was alot going on but the movie still managed to maintain its focus on the quest of the dwarves. I guess one of the advantages of it being the second movie out of a trilogy is that it’s perfectly justifiable to not have to wrap things up entirely  and so the open ended-ness of the plotlines have the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully all that is well ends well in the last movie.

Oh a particular scene I very much enjoyed was the fight between Gandalf and Sauron. Had a random thought while watching it. Sauron goes, ‘ there is no light that can overcome darkness’ and there’s Gandalf trying to use his white light with all his might but it’s not enough and finally gets captured. Just thought it was a neat parallel to the never ending battle with sin in us. Truly, by ourselves, we don’t have enough ‘ light’ to overcome darkness…only God can give us that light :).

Of course, the comments I have on this movie are coming from someone who has NEVER read the Hobbit and so I can’t relate to the disappointment or afford to be appalled at omissions and additions to the original story and thankfully, perhaps.  This movie definitely deserves a second watch just so that I can absorb everything in. 🙂

April 12, 2013

Stumbled onto…A NEW MECHA ANIME by Sunrise!!  It’s been so long! SO EXCITED NOW. Looks awesome + it stars some of my favourite seiyuus, has an awesome opening by TM Revolution + Nana Mizuki and pretty decent looking characters! It’s got the whole Gundam feel ( Duh same comp) 😀 but I hope it doesn’t disappoint!!

Zenkai Girl

April 9, 2013

Okay so I have to pen my thoughts on this drama before I forget! 3 words: It was awesome! I realize that there’s so much criticism for this show online from other viewers which is a bit sad because I thought most would’ve enjoyed the show as much as I did. Well I’m guessing one of the reasons for that is because the lead male and female don’t have the typical role in a relationship. Instead of the charismatic, hot, sometimes overbearing guy who sweeps the poor, kind girl next door off her feet, it’s reversed. Wakaba’s strong, knows what she wants and is overall a very capable woman while Sota is kind, gentle and a bit of a doormat. This was one of the reasons why i wasn’t immediately attracted to the show as well but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. It ended up being really refreshing to watch the pair and they are such a lovely couple with great chemistry! Both in their interactions with each other and their personal characters. This drama’s strength is definitely in the characters. The characters are all so loveable and well developed here with the exception of Shindo…i do kinda wish they developed him a bit more but oh well moving on…

I loved all the characters especially Ryo! Gosh he’s come a long way since 1 litre of tears. He acted so well as Sota here! Despite his character having some moments where you really just want to throttle him and ask him to man up, he gives that bashful, adorable smile of his and all his forgiven 🙂 But really, it was so enjoyable watching his character. Maybe just because I rarely see a doormat character as a lead- he goes all out for others, sometimes too much at his own expense but Wakaba helps him to find confidence and self worth in himself to pursue what he wants. I could actually really relate to him in some ways 🙂 I find Wakaba’s personality pretty inspiring too. Also his crying scenes were so impressionable on me that I can actually still remember them- 1. When he gave up his chef dream to search for Pitaro, omg I felt so bad for him then and you could see in his eyes how much it cost him to give it up :/ 2. When Pitaro’s mum left and he broke down knowing that he had manipulated Pitaro into choosing him. He made me cry so much there. :/ SO KUDOS Ryo! He actually won Best Supporting Actor for this role 🙂 so..well deserved!

On the contrary, we also see how Sota exerts his influence on Wakaba and helps her to see that success doesn’t necessarily make you happy and helps to remember her roots and remember how to love and care for people around her because somewhere along the way, she   got too caught up with being No. 1. I’ve never seen Wakaba’s actress before- Arigaki Yui…but I  do think she did well playing Wakaba- who at first seems a pretty straightforward 2D character but is actually more than what meets the eye.  I love how the 2 leads, in their interactions, develop their own personal characters and bring  the best out of each other. So great! I mean I guess that’s how an ideal real life relationship should be too. Also, it’s so fun that they really are complete opposites but they still compliment each other so well.


Then the kids! Hinata and Pitaro….omg they were totally adorable! It’s unrealistic how they have these pearls of wisdom coming out of their mouths at what….5 years old? But it is just sooooo awesome and bad ass. They are definitely alot wiser and mature than their adult counterparts. Again, I didn’t watch this drama because I don’t really like kids in shows as they usually annoy me but the kids here ended up being a total joy to watch! I love how they’re the main catalyst trying to matchmake Wakaba and Sota. and it’s so cute how they have their own love story going on as well 🙂

Hinata’s mum whoever the actress is did a really good job as the no nonsense, cold,career woman whom as we find out is a warm person inside. We see that she actually does care for the people around her but she doesn’t let her softness take over her wits. She’s a total pro!

And AHH, nearly every episode has a touching/heartwarming end or moment which was nice 🙂 The only criticism I have for this show is that towards the end….let’s say episodes 8-11 dragged a bit. I guess it was because Wakaba and Sota just WEREN’T getting it. After 8 episodes of steamy chemistry it hit the lull point when both characters like each other but don’t get together and start having these awkward encounters because they both do oh so very dumb things. Wakaba continues on with her ridiculous engagement and Sota chooses Soyoko even after Wakaba confesses to him. At one point I genuinely thought that maybe this drama might end differently….like how Pip and Estella ended up in Great Expectations. What would happen is that regrettably both hide their feelings and go down their (wrong) chosen paths and when they meet again, it’s bittersweet…where there are so many feelings and just hardly any words. All those wrong decisions would’ve made more sense and it would’ve all been worth it but…nahh what was I thinking? It’s essentially a typical rom com. It just ended up being quite frustrating and a bit of a drag watching them get past that stage especially when the reasons for the standstill in their relationship were a bit lame and best part was that everyone else was frustrated too and so they had to orchestrate the situation for them to get together! 

The ending episode was really sweet though I did nearly want to punch Sota when Wakaba proposed first! I was like, come on, you gotta be a man when it comes to the proposal at least! Thankfully he did end up proposing and it was such an ‘ awww’ moment. I like how they both ended up doing the things they really wanted to do while their love still remained strong. So sweet when they met up again in the restaurant 🙂

Overall, I really enjoyed Zenkai girl although this drama, it’s definitely the characters and not the plot that you really fall in love with! 

So just randomly, decided to revisit the first Japanese artist I liked way back in late Primary and early Secondary School-GACKT. Thinking back about it, I have no idea how I came across him, especially at a time when I was really into Mando/Canto pop. Anyway I forgot how awesome it was to listen to his voice till now! his voice is amazingggg. So powerful, emotive and unique XD If only my computer hadn’t crashed and I hadn’t lost all those songs….I remember the amount was nearly discography worthy. thank goodness for youtube. Going through the youtube videos has jolted my forgotten sensations of listening to his songs, so nice to have them back.:) Anyway, here are some of my favourite GACKT songs….still love them even now!:).   my faves are mostly his ballad tracks. [ yes some of his videos are erm slightly disturbing, i always thought so. But…the music is great!] Also, admittedly, he is pretty hot 😛

Such a powerful song!

Another epic one 😀 and live!

Classic

beautiful song 🙂

I remember when I saw this MV, i thought woahhh….so different from his normal weird and dark self.

First ever song of his that I listened to! was creeped out by the video but….yeahh, obviously i wasn’t deterred.

I find that I like this song more now than I did back then!

The ONLY song I saved from the com crash..and one of his best! 😉 the unplugged is so much better than the original. In fact, it is a world of difference. Never listened to the original really.

Ahh there are probably loads of his other songs that I enjoyed before but have no idea what they are now…at least till I hear them again hehe….

OMG. THIS ONE! it used to be on repeat for me 🙂 love it! ( first time I’ve actually seen the MV)

—–
Woosh! and now i’ve wasted an entire morning…..dissertation calls :/ or rather, lunch calls first!

Love.

April 4, 2013

Love, love, so much love

hearts, cotton candy, birthday cards

and of course  your pretty words,

cursive script and acrylic design. 

who knew you’d actually take the time?

It’s cold outside and the wind stings my eyes

But looking through your assorted gifts

leaves me warm and fuzzy on the inside

Love, love so much love, 

pity that it was only a song of yesteryear

Now that love has floated away like a little red balloon

and all that memorabilia sits dust covered in my room

Yet looking at them makes me smile and remember

those precious moments when I was happy and so much happier. 

Shine, Shine, My Star

March 21, 2013

Oh shine, oh shine, my wondrous star,

Oh star of love, you welcome are.

Here in my heart are you the precious one

No place for more: there can be none!

Tho’_a million stars light up from high,

On cloudless nights, both earth and sky,

‘Tis none but you, my wondrous star so bright,

That shine on me such glorious light

Enchanted star of love divine,

Of cherished bygone days of mine.

But come what may, in my tormented soul

There shall you stay to keep me whole!

How brightly beams your heav’nly ray.

Shine on my paths of life today.

Forever shine! Ev’n on my grave afar!

Oh brightly shine, my wondrous star!

———

so hauntingly beautiful…

WOOHOO!

March 13, 2013

EEP! The deed is done. There goes my $$ and here comes my 🙂 :). In my opinion, it’s well worth it!

Okay so I finally finished the formidable 56 episodes of 笑傲江湖。Wow, I have so many thoughts about this production that I don’t even know where to begin. Well, let’s start with the good points…I finished it. In the beginning, I found the first few episodes a bit draggy  but then as the series progressed towards the middle, it got really good and i was definitely hooked all the way till the bit before the end where I more or less thought I knew the ending and so left it on hold. So to show you where this review is coming from, this review is coming from someone who has watched the 2001 version with Li Ya Peng, 2000 Mediacorp version with Fann Wong as well as the 1991/1992 HK movie versions with the famous portrayal of Dong Fang Bu Bai by 林青霞. So yes, I’m definitely more critical of this most recent production than some others.

Well, 笑傲江湖 has a good plot and an interesting mix of characters to start with and no matter what was done to dress up the show in special effects or spice things up, the fundamentally solid storyline still did its magic. The best thing about this production, in my opinion is the cast. By far, this version has the youngest and best looking cast and it’s a point in its favor. In all honesty, a huge part of what kept me watching was the cast. Wallace Huo was actually a really good 令狐冲 to my pleasant surprise. I had my doubts when I found out that he’d been casted as he’s always played depressed and emo characters so wasn’t sure how he was going to pull off 令狐冲’s relaxed, carefree and slightly mischievous character. Well, he proved me wrong, he pulled it off! What was also awesome was that when it came to portraying 令狐冲’s serious and emotional scenes Wallace completely nailed them. So funnily enough, my favourite 令狐冲 is probably from this adaptation, not to mention, he’s definitely the most good looking 令狐冲 so far. I also really liked Lin Ping Zhi( looks wise) in this. Even Yuan Shan Shan as Ying Ying didn’t disappoint contrary to the initial outcry against her casting. I did wish she was slightly colder and guarded at the start instead of immediately falling head over heels with 令狐冲 though. I always liked seeing the slow transformation of Ying Ying’s character on encountering 令狐冲. Qiao En did her best in her role as Dong Fang Bu Bai as well. All the actors did a good job with their roles really. I also have to hand it to whoever it was that played Yue Bu Qun….he was the epitome of the 伪君子 that Yue Bu Qun is supposed to be- righteous looking with hidden ambition.  If I had to fault the casting at all, it would be that the ‘ veteran’ pugilists of the martial arts world all looked so young! Feng Qing Yang, 任我行, the old monks…basically all the old people looked too young. Or maybe it was me missing the veterans actually looking really old like in the old wu xia productions. But really…Feng Qing Yang looked as if he was 40 years old just that he had a long white beard stuck on. Dong Fang Bu Bai who is also supposedly many years older than 令狐冲 was also ageless in the show which is strange as all the people from her generation looked downright OLD. This could’ve been on purpose though…maybe due to her learning the Kuei Hua Bao Dian? Who knows….

So aside from the actors, another good point would be the colours and the sceneries in this one. I thought the use of bright colours was pretty refreshing and it did bring the show to life so kudos to the Director for that. Also, some of the background sceneries were really pretty. The romance in the show was also pretty good as well- more screen time was devoted to the couples which allowed viewers to understand the relationships better. I thought this was a good change that was introduced because in the older productions, the romance isn’t so prominently featured and much of the relationship is left up to the viewer to infer from occasional glances, intense looks and the subtle holding of hands. So, I do appreciate the emphasis placed on romance in this version.

Okay, so now the bad….there were just too many mistakes. The scripting was pretty bad and sometimes things didn’t make sense in the show. An example would be how it seemed pretty clearly established from the start that Dong Fang Bu Bai was a woman through and through but then later on there were still discussions about her confused sexuality by 任我行 who supposedly was the one who rescued Dong Fang Bu Bai when she was a helpless girl running away. Of all people, he was questioning her sexuality? right….There were quite a few instances in which statements in front and at the back seemed to contradict each other or didn’t make sense as well. Additionally, people were puking out blood over every injury….and then appearing fine right after they were supposedly  ‘severely’ injured. little things like that. No biggie really, but they did disrupt my enjoyment of the show from time to time.

The interpretation of characters…..Lin Ping Zhi!! I don’t know if this version had a more faithful portrayal of Lin Ping Zhi than in other versions but I was really looking forward to being drawn into his character since they got such a handsome guy to play him this time but….no! Ping Zhi ended up being pretty 2 dimensional in this one. Just plain insane and obsessed with revenge.  I kind of wished that they made his character more humane, it would have been nice to see that he actually DID care for Ling Shan.  I didn’t like the fact that this version portrayed him as completely heartless and opportunistic. I mean…it is true that he is supposed to be a good guy who gets twisted by revenge and power but even so, an absolute transformation isn’t very realistic. During his weak moments, it would’ve been nice to see that he at least had some feelings for Ling Shan, especially when so much time was spent on showing what a loving couple they were. After all that…he must have had at least some residual feelings for her? I definitely would’ve been more sympathetic towards him and it would have made his character more fulfilling. Even at the end…instead of regret, they decided to go with portraying Ping Zhi as full on crazy even when he was already in a wheelchair. In my opinion, that’s a bit extreme…I’d rather he ended up regretting his mistakes and becoming a monk…that’s kinda more believable ( to me anyway).  Hence, instead of becoming my favourite Lin Ping Zhi, the character fell rather flat for me in this version. If he weren’t so handsome, I probably wouldn’t have cared much for him at all. Same goes for Yue Bu Qun…when he turned evil and his wife of 20 years died, SOME form of emotional reaction would probably have been more believable. There was no need for a total weepy scene but, complete disregard for her death just ain’t very realistic either.

Dong Fang Bu Bai….sighs. I was really looking forward to Qiao En and her Dong Fang Bu Bai. She looked so awesome in the released stills and indeed, she looked great and acted great in the show. HOWEVER, her character ended up falling rather flat for me as well. It just wasn’t well developed. I’m not actually disapproving of Yu Zheng’s attempt to give us a very different Dfbb, I respect that idea but it just wasn’t executed well. Quite alot of screen time was devoted to the initial romance and chemistry between ling hu chong and her but it never really went anywhere, it was just left unresolved for a long while and then before you knew it, he started hated her and within the span of an episode, they became enemies. Then she disappears again and appears at the end trying to resolve what was left hanging like…20 episodes ago. The relationship ended up being quite disjointed and the presentation of Dfbb as the big baddie whose soft side was only shown to 令狐冲 didn’t work out very well. In the end, it was quite hard to feel anything for Dfbb because the nuances and different shades of this very interesting and awesome character weren’t given a good framework to develop in. Qiao En did what she could but…for me, it just never took off, especially for the parts after the initial romance between them.  Such a let down really…it’s quite sad to think that 林青霞’s Dfbb and even Jacelyn Tay’s Dfbb ( I actually really liked her as Dfbb) conveyed so much more even though they were given much less screen time. I blame the scriptwriter for this major letdown. Dfbb could’ve been so awesome in this production with such a beautiful actress and loads of screentime. Such a waste really, the time allocated to her was just used so badly.  However, for what it’s worth, I did enjoy the initial interactions Dfbb had with 令狐冲.

Another bad point was that the show moved really quickly. Events happened one after another, very systematically to the extent that sometimes it was a bit robotic and thus, many of the supposedly touching and tearful moments in the show lost their effect. Deaths happened quickly and passed too fast. Even if you were feeling somewhat sad, before you could actually properly feel sad, the show moved on. Special effects were also slightly overdone at times as well. I know this is the age of special effects but sometimes, its really too much and at times they look really fake as well. I guess I still miss the old school productions where emphasis was placed on actual sword fighting. Directors nowadays don’t understand that bigger, grander effects do not equate better fight scenes. I wish someone would just knock this into their heads! Viewers aren’t here to watch video game effects, we’d just play a video game if that were the case!  In fact, the grander the special effects, the less awesome the fight because it just ends up looking fake and unimpressive. The worst part is that you understand the sentiments of the director and can only helplessly watch on as coloured lasers shoot back and forth across the screen- at one point the characters were even throwing out CG animated ANIMALS which had no relation to their martial art skill whatsoever. I repeat. CG animated animals are not cool and in no way are a good replacement for old fashioned but completely awesome sword fighting.

Lastly, the ENDING EPISODE. It was so ridiculous that it’s not even worth mentioning. Why is it even there? It should have just been removed from the show. It does not even deserve to be called an episode of 笑傲江湖. It was so ridiculous that it was nearly hilarious. So much of the c*** that they added in could’ve been taken out, the story would’ve still been the same and i would be feeling satisfied rather than extremely annoyed.

Well, this ended up more of a rant rather than a review since its reeking of my criticism. Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoyed watching the series nevertheless although I can’t say much credit can be attributed to the scriptwriter’s creativity or director’s indulgence in CGI. It’s just because I think I’ll enjoy anything that is 笑傲江湖 and nearly anything with strong, good looking actors. So anyway as a production which has seen many predecessors before it, it is disappointing. Some bold changes were attempted and they could’ve been awesome or disastrous. Sadly, in this case, I think the changes headed more towards disaster, especially considering the horrible changes in the ending. All I can say is that the scriptwriter needs to be shot. Apparently he’s going to be adapting the script for a new Return of the Condor Heroes and I must say I am really apprehensive about that. I just hope Yu Zheng doesn’t ruin it although….I haven’t seen a version of that that I’ve been satisfied with so maybe, just maybe there’s some hope for a good adaptation yet.