hymnia: (Veronica - Que?)
Well, technically November 4th is over, since it's after midnight. But I'm still counting this as my 500+ words for 11/4. I needed to spend what would have been my writing time this evening cleaning up my desk a bit. Now I feel much better knowing that, while I still have a lot of little odds and ends to work on, at least it's organized.

I don't feel like writing about real life today (it wasn't that eventful, anyway), so I'm going to instead turn to the various media I've been reading/watching. Late post is late, so bullet points again:

  • Glee – I enjoyed seeing more of Mike Chang on the “Asian F” episode, and I'm also a fan of Tamlyn Tomita, so I was glad to see her as Mike's mom. The new episode this week was kind of “meh”. The new character could be interesting, but I wasn't especially impressed with him so far.

  • Revenge – I mainly just tuned into this because it has Emily VanCamp, whom I liked when she was on Everwood a few years ago. It's not the sort of thing I normally go far, but I admit I'm kind of hooked on it nonetheless. I vacillate between finding it has interesting commentary on human nature and suspecting it's just an overblown soap opera. I may or may not stick with it for the long haul. It bothers me that the brainy Mark Zuckerberg/Bill Gates-type character seems like the most sympathetic and likeable character on the show to me, and yet all the other characters treat him like he's Obnoxiousness Personified—including the beautiful-but-troubled protagonist and the earthy-but-charming guy from the wrong side of the tracks who has a crush on her. It's almost as if the writers assume that everyone in their audience will automatically consider him annoying because he's a geek, regardless of how he actually behaves on the show. They're breaking the rule of “show; don't tell” (even though that's less easy to do in TV/film than in books). Anyway, it's a minor annoyance so far, but it suggests to me that I, a person who tends to find geeks endearing rather than annoying, am probably not the right audience for this show. And if that's true, it's kind of a shame, because the show has a pretty decent hook, and much of the setup is similar to the brilliant and very geek-friendly Veronica Mars. Alas, I fear the show will not manage to reach that level of brilliance.

  • Guilty Crown – This show appears poised to be the next “IT” anime, with its post-apocalyptic action plot, a sexy and ethereal schoolgirl with mysterious powers, and creators who have well-known credits like Death Note (which I loved) and Code Geass (which I just couldn't get into). I like it well enough, but so far it just feels like a re-hash of other anime; I haven't yet found anything to LOVE about it. We'll see.

  • I'm also still watching Doctor Who, although as all you Who fans know, it's on hiatus for the time being. I've decided to go back and watch some Classic Who in the meantime, based on the suggestions in a recent post at [livejournal.com profile] doctorwho. I'm currently halfway through “City of Death”, a tale of the Fourth Doctor and Romana in Paris that was written by a writing team that included Douglas Adams. I will be the first to admit that some of Classic Who is a bit boring, but this one is an absolute GEM—wonderful antics from Tom Baker, great chemistry between him and the actress who plays Romana, and a clever script all around. I highly recommend it to any NuWho fan who wants to check out some of the Classic series.


I'll stop there for now, as I need to get some sleep. I meant to talk about books I'm reading, too, but I will have to save it for another post.

Joie
hymnia: (Hotaru flies)
I just wanted to repost here a comment I made to [livejournal.com profile] spin1978 about anime-to-film adaptations. Of course, this line of thought flows partly from the general adaptation-fail (not just the racefail) of The Last Airbender, but it's largely inspired by an interesting point that Ebert--himself a fan of Hayao Miyazaki's anime films--brought up in his review of TLA. Here's the relevant quote:

The first fatal decision was to make a live-action film out of material that was born to be anime. The animation of the Nickelodeon TV series drew on the bright colors and "clear line" style of such masters as Miyazaki, and was a pleasure to observe. It's in the very nature of animation to make absurd visual sights more plausible.

Since "Airbender" involves the human manipulation of the forces of air, earth, water and fire, there is hardly an event that can be rendered plausibly in live action. That said, its special effects are atrocious. The first time the waterbender Katara summons a globe of water, which then splashes (offscreen) on her brother Sokka, he doesn't even get wet. Firebenders' flames don't seem to really burn, and so on.


I'm not sure if this is the sort of problem [livejournal.com profile] spin1978 had in mind when he made the offhand comment to me that "most [anime] would be better left as anime," but it's what I immediately thought of. So here is my response:

To me, that's kind of like saying since novels are almost always better than their respective film adaptations, they'd be "better left as books". I can't really fault people for wanting to try taking a good story and changing it from one medium to another. But changing media successfully is tough. Hollywood has had many years of practice at changing book-to-film, and so it has managed to eek out a fair number of successful adaptions (at the cost of a huge number of failures, of course). In recent years, it's also starting to get the hang of Western comics to film adaptations.

Manga/anime to film adaptations, though, it has very little practice with, so of course it's understandable to be skeptical that they can pull it off. I prefer to be a little more hopeful. I realize that one of the trickiest challenges they will face (if they're smart enough to realize it) is how to translate fantastical and even absurd images that are easier to believe in animated form into something realistic-looking enough for live-action. I can only begin to guess how that problem might be solved, but I think it's worth a try. They might consider borrowing the approach of some of the better Western comics to film adaptions like the Batman Begins/Dark Knight series, since those were dealing with essentially the same problem. How, for example, can you take a character like The Joker and put him in "real life" and make him seem realistic rather than cartoony? Well, you cast a good actor who can play a nuanced villain, and put him in makeup that looks like the amateur job a real psychotic criminal would put on himself, rather than what a professional Hollywood makeup artist would put on an actor.

I've heard that Tolkien didn't want his books to be made into live-action films, either, for essentially the same reason. Well, he died before the technology that made it possible even existed. But technology alone is not enough--a successful adaption has to balance respect for the source material with a willingness to make changes where needed to make the story appropriate to the new medium. That's something Peter Jackson and his team did very well. The films weren't perfect, of course, but they were very good--and hugely successful as a result. I'd say most of the Potter franchise came close enough to the right balance, too.

Anyway, I'm not going to rule out the possibility that Hollywood can make good film adaptations of popular anime. Between technology and a few smart decisions--like The Joker's makeup job--and, of course, sensible casting (which means, in the vast majority of cases, that they're going to have to start grooming good Asain-American actors instead of whitewashing stories that are clearly steeped in East Asian culture), I do think it's possible.


[livejournal.com profile] peachespig also brought up the problem of squeezing a large amount of story (20 epsidoes, in the case of TLA) into one feature-length film. This is, of course, also a problem with novel-to-film, and even MORE of a problem with Western comics-to-film. Again, I don't think this problem is insurmountable, and I think considering how much broader of an audience can be reached by live action films compared to anime (which has grown over the past 20 years from a niche market to a larger but still not-quite-mainstream market in the US), I really can't blame Hollywood for wanting to try.

Joie

ETA: io9 has posted a hilarious satirical review of TLA. It's the funniest thing I've seen all day:

Later in the film, Katara says my favorite line ever, "We need to show them that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in their beliefs." It's as if Shyamalan had a cue card that he was planning to turn into an actual bit of dialog, but he forgot. There's a lot of cue-card writing in this film, and it feels like Shyamalan is leaving things as sign-posty as possible, in order to make fun of the by-the-numbers storytelling in so many Hollywood epics. The master has come to school us all.
hymnia: (Default)
*admires alliterative title*

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have the time for a fairly pointless post, though the impression that I have some free time is probably a bit of an illusion. *sigh*

I was grading my students' grammar papers the other day, and I found myself somewhat in disagreement with the Teacher's Guide. I think, perhaps, that the Teacher's Guide is going by a rather outdated method of comma usage, but I'm not sure. Anyway, instead of doing proper research on the matter, I have decided to poll my flist!

First please examine the following sentence:

John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, began on October 16, 1859, and was crushed on October 18.

Then answer the questions:

Poll under cut )

Feel free to add additional information or justification in the comments. Come on grammarphiles, I need your help! :D

The other item I wanted to post about is music. I’m sure I’m not the only person who, from time to time, is watching some movie or TV show wherein some piece of classical/art music is used as incidental music, and feels sure that the piece is familiar, but can’t name it. For some reason, it appears that TV shows in particular can get away with using music and not giving any credit, so that one is left wondering what the piece of music was even after scouring the closing credits.

But in this day and age whenever one is presented with any sort of trivial mystery like this, one can always ask Teh Interwebs—and will be very likely to find the answer! So I am pleased to announce that the gorgeous swelling of symphonic music heard when Kenshin bids farewell to Kaoru before departing for Kyoto is the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni. While it is not by Puccini, as I had first thought, it is by one of his contemporaries in the verismo school of Italian composers, and it is certainly just as appropriate a musical selection for the “Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story” as Puccini would have been (except for the fact that Mascagni did not write Madame Butterfly).

Also, the piano sonata that underscores Kenshin’s battle with Shishio at the end of the Kyoto arc is, as I thought, one of Beethoven’s named piano sonatas. But it is not the Pastoral, as I originally thought, nor another movement of the Moonlight Sonata, as I later guessed. It is the Adagio Cantabile movement of the Pathetique. I clearly remember studying this piece in Dr. Kindred’s killer Music Theory II course, and I remember thinking, at the time, that the song “Somewhere Out There” had ripped off parts of the melody. *smirks* Cantabile, indeed.

And on a related note, [livejournal.com profile] markbrannan, I thought you might like to know that the theme song for House, which you thought you recognized the other day, is by Massive Attack, according to the closing credits. Does that help you place it?

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
Have you ever been watching or reading a series, and really enjoying it, and then you got to the very end, and, for one reason or another, it just fell flat? Maybe something happened that you didn't like--like a beloved character dying in a way that didn't feel fitting, or two characters you wanted paired up being separated. Or maybe there was just something that didn't quite gel--a plot twist that seemed unbelievable or felt like "cheating" on the part of the writers. Or anything, really, that left you feeling like you were robbed of your enjoyment of the series?

Tonight I watched the last disc of Samurai 7, the anime adaptation of Kurusawa's Seven Samurai. The well-known Old West film The Magnificent Seven was also derived from the same storyline. Anyway, that's pretty much how I feel right now. It's so annoying. I was very much looking forward to enjoying the series' denoument when I got the disc in the mail from Netflix this week, and now, *poof*, all my pleasure in the series is gone.

Brief, vaguely spoiler-y explanation of why )

BTW, I don't always have to have happy endings, it's just that if there are unhappy endings they have to be fitting, and they have to be well-foreshadowed enough that I don't feel like the rug is pulled out from under me completely.

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
Gacked from [livejournal.com profile] ashavah and [livejournal.com profile] prettyannamoon

Yeah, it’s another one of those guess the lyrics memes. What can I say? I like this game. :D

I have too much weird stuff in my complete library, so I used a playlist of about 90 favorites instead. Um…if a lot of these sound weird and unfamiliar, it’s probably because you don’t listen to much Tori Amos. ;)

Step 1: Put your iTunes on random.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 30 songs that play, not matter how embarrassing. (I won't cheat; you can't cheat)*
Step 4: Bold out the songs when someone guesses correctly.


*I did skip songs for the following reasons:
1) The song has no words.
2) The song title is in the first line.
3) Someone else on my flist who has done this meme already had that song.
4) I couldn’t figure out what the first line of the song says.

Lyrics )

So far, I’ve spent my summer break being really lazy. Yesterday I spent almost the entire day watching an anime series called Full Moon, which is 50-something episodes long, I think. It’s got quite an interesting plot device that really drew me in. I think it would actually make a good live action movie, if the story were streamlined a bit. Basically, it’s about this 12-year-old girl with throat cancer, who always dreamed of becoming a famous singer. She gets a visit from two shinagami (death spirits, kind of like Andrew in Touched by an Angel, who escort the souls of the dead into the afterlife). She’s not supposed to be able to see them, but for some reason, she can, and she finds out from them that she’s supposed to have only one year left to live. Hearing this news, she’s determined to make her dream come true, and she decides to go to this audition at a record studio, even though she’s not old enough (sixteen), and because of her cancer her voice, although pretty, is not very strong. One of the two shinagami feels compassion for her, and uses his power to temporarily transform her into a healthy sixteen year old, even though his partner warns him that messing with her fate will get him into trouble. He doesn’t really expect her to pass the audition, but—oops!—of course, she does, and he and his partner end up getting sucked in to helping her lead a double life as a sick little girl and a famous teen idol singer called Full Moon. As the story progresses, she learns some interesting things about the past—about her deceased parents, her grandmother (her legal guardian, who hates music), her doctor (an old friend of her father’s who was also a musician in his youth), a childhood friend that she fell in love with but hasn’t heard from in years, and, most significantly, the shinagami who changed her into Full Moon, who was once a human before his tragic death. It’s just a nice blend of teen dreams-come-true fluff, other-worldly mystery, and romance, and I think it would make an appealing film. I can dream, right? Hmm...I think I'll go look for some Full Moon icons now.

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
*happy sigh* I wasn't even looking forward to this birthday. With my teens and my early twenties now behind me, I am starting to drag my heels about the idea of being another year older. But it's good to have an excuse to celebrate. My sis-in-law's (Vanessa, aka [livejournal.com profile] nessabutterfly) birthday is today, and since our birthdays are so close, the last two years we have been celebrating in tandem. This year's dual celebration turned out to be really fun.

My birthday got off to a good start. The teacher I work most closely with at school brought a chocolate chip cookie cake and had all the kids sing to me before they were dismissed for their afternoon P.E. class. Better yet, my students behaved themselves better than usual all day. :D

Friday Night: Dinner and Swing Dancing )

The next morning we went to MegaCon, a convention focused mainly on sci-fi/fantasy, comic books, and anime/manga. So. Much. Fun. For me, the main attraction was the anime/manga aspect of the convention, particularly the merchandise and the cosplay. (In case you don’t know that term: cosplay = “costume play”, or dressing up as characters from anime/manga/video games—or anything, really).

I really, really got a kick out of the cosplay. There were so many cool costumes, and it was neat to see the creative things people did, and to get a chance to chat with them and admire their costumes. I cosplayed as Sango from Inuyasha (see pic below--I did her traveling kimono, though it seems people who dress as Sango usually do her battle gear), and it was really fun to have people call out, "Hey, Sango" to me and ask to take my picture. I had fun locating other people at the convention dressed as Inuyasha characters and asking them to pose for pics with me. A guy dressed as Miroku (the character with whom Sango has a bickering proto-romance with) posed for one picture with me, and then offered to do a "lecherous" pose with me as well (Miroku is a very lustful character, and is always trying to grab Sango’s rear, usually getting slapped, elbowed, or at least yelled at as a result), but he didn't press it when Vanessa, who was taking the pic, declined on my behalf. I was actually pretty amused by the offer.

Reference pics of Sango from Inuyasha )

I should add here that my late-night costume preparations before the con consisted of allowing Vanessa to cut me some bangs and faux-sideburns to match Sango’s hairstyle. A bit extreme, I know, to cut my hair for cosplaying, but I’m actually really pleased with the result. It’s been years since I’ve had bangs, and now that I’ve got them again, I have no idea why I didn’t cut them sooner. I look really good with bangs, if I do say so myself. ;) Anyway, if you want to see a pic of me in my Sango get up, Vanessa has posted the one of me with Miroku in her LJ here. Please ignore the one of her fixing my hair, as the lighting in that one makes me look awful. Just scroll on by to the one with Miroku, plz. I’ll post more pics from the weekend in a later post. BTW, I did 95% of the sewing of that costume myself. It was pretty simple, but I hadn't sewn anything since home ec class in middle school, so it was a big accomplishment for me. Vanessa, who also made her own costume, is an expert seamstress, and she helped me design the costume and figure out what the heck I was doing with the sewing machine. <333

More about the Con )

The best part was the company, though. Some of you who have been on my flist a long time will remember that I once didn’t have many local friends here in Orlando. Well, that has begun to change. Last November or so, I got assigned to sing on the same rotation as a girl named Christie in my praise team at church, and we instantly hit it off, mainly because we share an obsessive interest in fantasy, anime, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc., and—more importantly—we seem to like those things for some of the same reasons (not to mention our shared interest in music and theatre, and our shared religious beliefs). Anyway, last month she invited me to a Chinese New Year’s party at her house where we had Chinese food and watched lots of anime, and I got to meet several of her friends. I’ve seen them a few times since then, and now they are becoming my friends, too. Anyway, Christie herself wasn’t able to come to the con on Saturday (she went on Sunday), but I spent a large part of the day with friends that I made because of her, and it was really fun.

I also enjoyed talking to the other cosplayers, especially some teenage girls dressed as fellow Inuyasha characters. The teens I met at the con were really sweet, and chatting with these delightfully geeky, anime-obsessed teenagers just filled me with a warm feeling of nostalgia for my own geeky teen years. *sigh*

Saturday ended with a very late dinner at Doc Chey’s Asian Kitchen, which was really, really delicious—by far one of the best Asian restaurants I’ve been to.

Sunday, Christie and I had our turn to sing for church services, and in between the two services, we got to chat about anime and such. I also got several compliments on my new hair do from friends at church. After church, I did all the work I had put off all weekend (writing curriculum and cleaning my room) and got caught up on LJ. I enjoyed reading all of your birthday greetings. :)

All right, for months now I’ve been meaning to put up a poll like the one [livejournal.com profile] chicagoamy did a while back, to find out who on my flist shares an interest in the same TV shows that I like, and my current desire to find other Fruits Basket fans has prompted me to do it now, even though this post is already ridiculously ginormous. Please fill this poll out!

Poll: Pinky, are you watching what I’m watching? )

Thanks for reading. Due to the million and one things going on in my life, I was offline for about 5 days in a row. I was having fun, but I did miss you guys. *hugs flist*

Joie

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