“Sailor Moon Crystal”

Sailor Moon was the very first anime I watched. It’s not the very best nor even especially a favorite of mine, but I’m a fan nonetheless. Actually, when I was taking Japanese for school, I read the original manga for practice which was a mostly pleasant experience.1 Suffice it to say I’m pretty well-versed in the series. Anyway, Sailor Moon is currently going through a reboot and there’s a brand new anime series currently airing. Here’s the snazzy trailer:

My initial thoughts were surprisingly brief. It’s pretty, which is part and parcel with SM and the overarching “magical girl” genre. But I found myself really distracted by the art style. I just finished watching Persona 4 The Animation, so you’d think I wouldn’t find the long-and-lean look so alarming, but I do. Not that the original anime is exactly short and chubby or even the source art from the manga. I just find this particular design alarmingly lanky and disturbingly awkward like these Sailor Senshi have stepped out of A Nightmare Before Christmas.2

And, unfortunately, I am no less off-put after watching the first episode, which is entirely due to the jerky animation. Not to say that the animation itself is bad, as it has some really nice touches here and there. It’s just not as fluid and crisp as I tend to expect from Japanese animation. And I’ll throw my hat into the ring of Internet uproar about the “dead eyes” and lack of expression. I suspect that’s at least partially intended since this version has a distinctly less whimsical vibe, but Usagi seems very one-note and, frankly, not as likable. Then again, I’ll be the last person to complain about the absence of whining because I find that grating in any situation even if we’re talking about a self-described crybaby. The CGI is pretty underwhelming and I found the slow-motion style of the transformation sequence made it seem overly drawn out.3

The plot is straight from the first act of the manga and since this is the umpteenth version I’ve seen of this I can’t help but stifle a yawn. This particular version is such a faithful recreation that it borders on unoriginal. Honestly, its such a carbon copy in some respects that even though I wasn’t specifically trying to compare the two anime, I kept finding myself doing exactly that. This is really a disservice to the reboot because it left me pining for the more dynamic characterizations from the original. Mamoru, for instance, is just a blank slate in this version rather than the mildly irritating and somewhat mysterious figure he is in the original. Maybe this works for someone who is completely unfamiliar with SM, but even so it’s still pretty flat. And given that the odango covers warning system and the supersonic crying powers are only ever seen in Act 1, I really don’t understand why these things keep getting translated into every adaptation. It just seems sloppy to me.

I’m still on the fence about the music. I don’t exactly dislike it, but neither am I especially fond of any particular piece save for the ending theme “Moon Rainbow.” Not much of a surprise about that since it’s composed by Akiko Kosaka, who also composed two of my favorite songs from the original anime: “Tuxedo Mirage” and “Moon Revenge.” At the very least, none of it is nearly as memorable as past music, which seems especially true for me having just come off Persona 4‘s amazing soundtrack.

Surprisingly, the one thing I expected to have issue with didn’t really bother me at all and that’s the voice-acting. Kotono Mitsuishi is the only original seiyuu to return, which I feared might only emphasize the differences in the rest of the cast. But for the most part I hardly noticed the changes, though, sadly I suspect that’s because of the low-key nature this version seems to have. And to be honest I was somewhat placated by Kotono’s familiar portrayal of Usagi that even though she’s far less dramatic than her counterpart from the original anime, I wasn’t bothered so much as I was just aware there was a difference.

At present, I’m underwhelmed, but I’m not disappointed and for now I think that’s good enough. Certainly this reboot isn’t groundbreaking, but at least it’s not tarnishing anything that came before it. For that I am deeply relieved.

  1. My tastes in manga are pretty much inline with my tastes in comics in general and so I found Inuyasha far more interesting to read than Sailor Moon.
  2. I can make references to this now since I finally watched it!
  3. A fact, I might add, that also bothered me with the live-action show and, while not the main factor, it was one reason I only managed to stomach a few episodes before giving up entirely.

Is This Thing On?

Once upon a time there was a girl who used to blog all the time. On nearly a daily basis, in fact. And for some reason that completely eluded her, people read the blog and presumably enjoyed it.

Um, and then some stuff happened . . . and . . . erm, well . . . uhh . . . there should probably be a segue here . . . ahem. . . .

Okay, that’s just sad. I’m a writer for goodness sake. I should certainly be able to come up with something more epic than “stuff happened,” right? Except the sad thing is that “stuff” is pretty accurate since none of it was especially interesting and mostly it just seems like a lot of time has gone by with nothing encompassing it. So, in essence the lack of content is pretty accurate to my life as late. So, in fact, I’ve saved you all a lot of boring reading. You should thank me!

“But Bleu,” you say because even though no one really calls me that any more I still associate that handle with my presence online, “we miss you when you’re gone!” Aww, how sweet of you to say that.1 I miss you all, too!

“So, what’s with the disappearing act every now and again?” you query, leaving me feeling decidedly sheepish.

True there are those times I just need some space from the intarwebs. But generally the radio silence can’t be helped. Unfortunately, the reasons for this latest bout into whatever the written equivalent to static are the same ones I reported before. I had relapse of mono that knocked me on my ass for a few weeks and then I literally knocked myself on my ass when I fell down my basement steps. I ended up with a broken coccyx, which makes for a third time that has happened and sadly the second time in a row wherein basement steps have been involved. Then, just as I was finally able to sit at my computer without keeling over in exhaustion or pain, my hard drive bit the dust.

Well, to be fair that happened several weeks later. First my computer just started acting all crazy like it had taken my hiatus to mean it could go off on a vacation of its own that I’m guessing included lots of drugs and alcohol. At any rate, I clearly returned to the keyboard before it had sobered up and the hangover proved too much for it to handle. The straw that toppled it over was a power outage that fried my external hard drive.

Before I can lose myself in this woebegone tale, you interject once more: “What about all your other wifi-enabled devices?” Oh, you are an astute bunch, gentle readers! This is a true enough fact and if I were less witty and more cunning I’d weave a yarn about the whys and hows. But the truth is I’m lazy and also easily distracted. Weeks of being all but bedridden left me with quite a lot of time to read books and play video games. Both things that I can and do with those tech toys of mine. Especially the PS3 stationed perfectly within line of the sofas in my living room. It even has the word “play” right in its name, like it’s daring me to do anything but with it. Which by the by seems to be the majority of what I post over on Tumblr. When I actually do post on Tumblr, that is.

Anyway, all that aside, I shall do my very best to rid the virtual dust that has settled upon this blog. Not that I’ll be shooting myself in the literal foot by promising daily posts or anything so grandiose. Especially as my computer is still in the midst of repairs. However, I’ll at least work at being more consistent with updates lest virtual vermin take up residence here. Oh, also, I’ll probably natter on about the dog sometime in the near future because somehow I managed to prattle on with only but this one mention of her!

  1. I’m blushing. Yes, really, I am.

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival #15: Freedom

[Note: My deepest apologies for the extreme delay in getting this posted. Much gratitude and thanks to Brooke of Ruled by Paws for compiling the submissions and writing up this edition of the #ADBC.]

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival (#ADBC)Our friends Cyndy and Uschi have been dealing with ongoing computer problems, so they have asked me, the Rogue Hurricane, to take care of sharing the many great entries that were submitted for the 15th round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival.

This will be the very first time I have been given this amazing honour, so hopefully I do okay.

First up, we have our friends, Karyn and Thane, from the blog Through A Guide’s Eyes. Karyn writes about the wonderful changes she has experienced over the past six months, both with her personal health and in her partnership with thane while taking part in a program centered in the science of neuroplasticity. Please take a moment to read about the journey in their post titled “Now this is Freedom.”

Now let’s go visit Flo over at the blog, A Mutt and His Pack. In an entry called “Freedom,” Flo writes about the things a service dog handler must consider before going out each day with their canine companion, and about how to her, it’s all worth it.

I totally agree, I think I’m totally worth the constant worry and public annoyances, don’t you?

Next, we’ll go visit our Swedish friends, Nadja and Hera, over at the blog, Leye-Shprintse Oberg. In a post titled: “Freedom,” Nadja talks about the freedom of choice. She writes about her feelings of not being ‘normal’ wile using a white cane and how choosing to work with Hera has changed the way others think of her.

Mommy says she can really relate to this post because when she lost her sight at 13 and had to learn to use a white cane, she hated it and hated the way people thought of her. She told me that when she got her first dog guide, Gryphon, in 1997, she put her cane on the shelf and has never looked back. Now people see her as the “woman with the dogs”, and stare at us instead of at “the “blind woman”.

Here’s our fellow Canadians, Carin and Tansy, of the blog, Vomit Comet. In her entry, “The Freedom I find in a Guide Dog,” Carin writes about how her dogs have made life a lot easier, but if needed, she would still be able to survive without them.

Mommy says she can also relate to this post, but in my canine opinion, I think they’re both wrong…how could they ever survive without a cute, four-legged friend, like me, to watch over them?

Now it’s time to get a little more serious with our friends, L-Squared and Jack, who have written about the issue of irresponsible dog owners and the differing levels of prosecution from state to state if a service dog were to be injured. In their post, “Freedom Comes With Responsibilities,” L-Squared shares some frightening experiences her and jack have had with off leash dogs and irresponsible owners.

BIG SHIVER I am SO glad I wasn’t there. Mommy has encountered scary dogs and bad owners with both Phoenix and Cessna, but thankfully it hasn’t happened to me.

Next, we have Sharon Wachsler who has some wonderful news to share with us all… In her entry titled: “Freedom! I’ve Recovered My Health!” Sharon writes about the amazing changes her health has undergone through a program that involves a behavioural neuroplasticity brain retraining program. Please take a moment to read about her spectacular journey towards recovery.

Now let’s take a moment to welcome Natalie of the blog, Still I Can’t Be Silent. This is Natalie’s first time participating in the Carnival, so please take some extra time to leave a comment on her post. In her entry titled: “Freedom,” Natalie writes about the different ways in which service dogs provide their human companions with a sense of freedom.

Here’s another new carnival participant, please try and take some extra time to leave a comment for Joe. In a post titled: “Gaynor,” Joe tells us about his daughter Siobhan’s service dog. He writes about the first time Siobhan meets gaynor and about their partnership, as well as, about having to find her a retirement home and about her recent passing.

Awe, this entry had me teary, I am only 3 and don’t like reading about dogs passing away…in my short life, I have already had to say goodbye to my friends Phoenix and Aspen.

Guess who’s next…?

It’s our turn!!

Come check out our blog, ruled by paws. In a post titled: “Rogue is Freedom,” Mommy writes about yours truly!! She talks about what a difference I have made in her life and how even before I arrived, I was forcing her to go outside of her comfort zone and take back her independence.

Not sure how many of you know this, but Mommy and I went on a trip alone to Wyoming on an airplane in May. Mommy was a bit nervous about the trip, but I took charge and showed Mommy how amazing I am. I even passed the dreaded public access test with flying colours!!

So, that’s it. there are no more posts for me to read and write about. thank you Cyndy and Uschi for allowing me to take over your blog for a bit and help you out, it was fun learning about everyone.

OH!! Just one more thing to tell everyone. From now on, the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival will be organized by Cyndy and Mommy, so keep an eye on our blogs to see when and where the next Assistance Dog Blog Carnival will take place. We hope to see you all at the next one.

Things and Such

First, let me assure all of you that I will be posting the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival soon. I expect this weekend, if not before. And, yes, you’re still welcome to participate if you so desire.

I deeply apologize that it’s about a month late in getting up. I had mono through a good chunk of last month, which thankfully wasn’t as awful as the last time I had it back in October. However, I think I dragged it out a bit more this time because I didn’t rest as much as I probably should have. I was busy with job interviews and the weather finally started to act like Spring and then it was my birthday and, well, you get the idea.

Of course, right about the time I was finally able to sit at the computer with most of my brain functioning, I ended up putting myself nearly entirely out of commission by taking a tumble down my basement steps. I bruised myself up pretty terribly, ripped a healthy chunk out of my left elbow, and jarred my (bad) left knee a bit. Oh, and I broke my tailbone.1 So, mostly I’ve spent the better part of the last week or so lounging about the house and griping about how I can’t find a perfectly comfy position where I’m not in pain.

This has left me with lots of time to play Final Fantasy X HD and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which I got for my birthday. FFX is one of my favorite in the series and the HD remaster is just breathtaking. It really makes me pine for a similar treatment for FFVII and/or FFIX. And I’m really surprised by Ni no Kuni, which was described to me as a JRPG that was basically Dragon Quest meets Pokemon and I was admittedly leery of the latter,2 but it really has proven to be a wonderful game. Not to mention the cel-shaded graphics are so well done they literally make me feel like I’m playing around in a living cartoon.

I also got some nifty Firefly swag for my birthday. Along with socks. And new stoneware cupcake pans!3

As for Uschi, she had her annual last month and aside from her nasty seasonal allergies is doing quite well. She does have a growth on her leg that needs to be removed and biopsied, but we’re pretty sure it’s just plaque. But thanks to finding an ointment that actually helps, the wound by her eye is nearly completely healed up. She’s on a waiting list for some new allergy medicine that I’m hoping will help clear up the issues with her being so itchy, too.

  1. For the third time.
  2. To this day the “Pokemon Craze” leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I’ve never been able to find any interest in a single aspect of it. And, subsequently, its many clones.
  3. You might recall I knocked my old one off the counter and it shattered into nine thousand pieces. It was very tragic.

The Return of the Pain

If you needed some more time to get your post ready for the 15th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, you lucked out because I’m still taking submissions. My hope is to get the post up this weekend, but I’m making no promises.

This is because I haven’t written my own post as yet woke up with another scary stiff neck and I can’t really sit at the computer presently, which makes trying to organize the actual #ADBC post something of a challenge.