Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,

Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,
You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mini Reviews

There are so many shows I love, yet I haven't been able to review all of them. So, since I saw my friend James do this on his blog, I thought I'd write a few of them up. Here are some mini-reviews of some shows I have watched this year as well as last year. And remember, this is for shows I have finished(or, as with the case of Torchwood, have nearly completed, since Miracle Day just became available on Amazon Prime).
I'd write reviews for other such shows as Avatar: The Last Airbender and Spice and Wolf but since it's been years since I first watched ATLA(and I couldn't give a first impressions post all that well) and I only just finished season 2 of Spice and Wolf. I might do that later on, though :)
Also, remember, some of these reviews will contain spoilers, but I'll post a note at the top of each one for warning.

Firefly(and Serenity)

Warning, some minor spoilers
Being a huge fan of Joss Whedon's two TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, as well as a lover of all things sci-fi, I knew the minute I heard about Firefly that I would have to watch it. My two childhood friends(who also introduced me to Star Wars and BTVS/AtS) recommended it to me- since they knew I loved science fiction and Whedon- and eventually, after completing Joss Whedon's two supernatural-esque series, I started Firefly. And, boy, was I amazed by it! The thing Joss Whedon has always excelled at is making his characters real, developed, and actual individuals that are bound together in someway and fit seamlessly into the world-building.
      Sadly, Firefly was cancelled after only one season (curse you, Fox! Thankfully they were able to release the amazing movie Serenity), but Mr. Whedon was able to endear us to these characters in a short time and, I bet, if the show had been able to continue it would have been just as amazing(or even more so) as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    There are several things that set this show off from other series out there, the first being- of course- the characters. Another thing I really enjoyed was the setting- I've seen/read quite a few stories that take place in a universe where humanity has left Earth and has colonized other worlds, but this one was different and unique in that, while some things seem more advanced than they are now(the technology, segregation doesn't seem as bad as it is now*except in the boonies*, etc), yet some things are the same(sexism still exists, the poor are still treated awfully, prostitution is still around, etc), which was pretty interesting. As a sci-fi fan, it was also nice to see various things like space travel, old rebellions, and an extremely creepy 'alien' villain(the reevers, which are terrifying). The plots are also magnificent, like one would expect from Whedon,and not only present an exciting narrative but also gives us interesting commentaries on the human condition(which is something else to expect from Whedon).

The main cast is medium sized(the number of main characters is similar to that of BTVS), yet it is able to explore it's characters so well that by the end of the series(and film) you care for them a lot. Each of them is different, none completely conform to stereotype, and all are likable(yes, even Jayne, who at first seems like a jerk). My thoughts on each character are as follows.

Simon Tam - If I had to choose a favorite character from the Firefly/Serenity franchise, I'd have to go with Simon Tam. A doctor(no, not THE Doctor), kindhearted, and a good brother, he is definitely what I'd consider 'my type' when it comes to a guy. Not only is he kind, a good person, and smart, he has a mental strength along with his competent fighting skills, which I appreciated seeing(he's one of the few male characters I've seen in fiction who wasn't turned into a puddle of goo when he was in a brothel- Simon just went to help the women they were there to protect). Not only that, but as I mentioned briefly above, he is a good brother and, even though he had feelings for Kaylee, he always puts protecting his sister from harm first which is a very admirable, and selfless, quality. I'm quite surprised that very few fans would count him as their favorite(I was recently talking to someone about the series and they said they didn't like him at all- not sure why....).

River Tam - River is probably one of the most badass characters out there; I won't spoil how she gets her awesome fighting skills(she was born with her genius), but they are a great thing to behold. Her character has a nice arc, growing from a panicking, obviously messed up, young girl to a warrior who has finally come into her own. She is also quite humorous and has a very integral part of the story, especially the epic movie.

Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds - A sort of Han Solo figure, Mal is definitely one of the best characters in the series. Not only is he complex, a badass, and excellently acted by Nathan Fillion, he is progressive and he grows as a character wonderfully over the course of the series. One of the best facets of his character is his positive attitude towards women and his realistic personality. Unlike a lot of guys in this sort of genre, he doesn't have the whole 'men are better than women' and that 'women need protecting' mind-set, which is rather refreshing from a guy in his line of work(his comments to Saffron about the rules from her home planet- one being women have to be subservient to men- being a load of crap are a nice showing of this). However, he can also be a jerk and definitely is not perfect by any means, which makes him even more interesting. Another part of his character that I liked that he had a realistic reason for losing his faith, unlike other stories(glares at "His Dark Materials" trilogy).

Jayne Cobb - While at first seeming to be your typical macho jerk, Jayne ends up becoming one of the more complex characters on the series. He starts showing glimmers of not being what he says several episodes in and, as we reach the end of the series, he has become a much more interesting character and one I wish we could have learned more of.  I always enjoy characters who aren't always as they seem, and Joss did wonderfully here with that.

Inara Serra - Another one of my favorite characters of  the series, Inara is what is called a 'companion' in the Firefly 'verse, which is basically a prostitute(yet, with how the companion system is set up, it's a lot better than it is anywhere currently- the prostitutes are completely in power of the situation, can pick their clients, and can ban someone if they try to abuse one of the companions). Besides being a companion, Inara is also a well-rounded character. She can take care of herself in a fight(she's pretty badass), she has a likable personality, and I found her quite funny. Her relationship with Mal was also pretty interesting and I would have liked seeing more of it.

Kaylee Frye - Kaylee is another one of those characters that defies stereotypes. She is a masterful mechanic, yet she is really feminine, a kind person, and not a combat-master, which I think is important to show. While not one of my top favorite characters in the series, I did enjoy her as much as everyone on the show, and she has quite a lot of humorous moments. Her interactions with Simon were also fun to see.

Zoe Washburne - I always love a badass female character, and Zoe definitely didn't disappoint on this front. She's the second in command on the ship, as well as one of the former members of the rebellion along with Malcolm, with whom she is good friends(I love how there is no sexual tension with them at all- see! Men and Women can be friends!). I also enjoy the flip of typical romantic pairings with her and her husband Wash(she's the fighter and he's the non-combatant pilot, which is a nice deviation from the stereotypical norm). I only wish we could have seen more of her character development.

Derrial "Shepherd" Book - Probably the best Christian character I've seen in a TV series, Shepard Book was a nice addition to the crew. Considering how badly Christians are portrayed in a lot of media(film, television, books, etc), having a good portrayal was such a wonderful thing to see(Joss does this again with having the character of Riley be Christian in BTVS, who is also a likable character). Sheperd Book also seems to understand the meaning of being a religious, shows true belief, and behaved more the most part like an actual Christian, which I was thankful for.

Hoban "Wash" Washburne - The hilarious, expert pilot who loves playing with dinosaurs and being basically goofy, gives a nice sense of levity to otherwise serious moments in the show. While a smaller part at first, he grows into a major figure who shows growth as the series goes along.

I would recommend this show for +15/16 (for violence, sexual content, and some cursing).

Favorite episodes
Serenity(the film)
The Message
War Stories
Objects in Space


WARNING: Minor spoilers
       Angel, spin-off of the awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer; when first hearing of it, it might just seem like a quick cash grab. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Angel is it's own show and can stand shoulder to shoulder with BTVS easily. It is much darker than Buffy(which is in itself is a very dark show) and deals with more adult issues and how hard life can be, yet how important it is to keep going. The show does a good job on representing its message- that redemption must be worked for and that fighting the good fight is always the right thing to do, even if it never ends and you aren't able to see good win in your lifetime. Because the Apocalypse is now.
      For a brief synopsis, Angel starts alongside Buffy season 4 with our titular character hanging out, desolate, in LA after leaving Sunnydale. I won't spoil too much, but he meets up with a man similar to him and a woman he knew in Sunnydale and the story goes on from there, with characters arriving and leaving throughout the series' five season run, all of them memorable and all of them important. There's Doyle, who, while not there for very long, definitely makes an impact and goes from struggling drunk to hero; There's Cordelia Chase from BTVS who undergoes one of the biggest character arcs of the entire Buffyverse, managing to grow from spoiled girl from a rich family to an incredibly compassionate woman in a completely realistic way; Wesley(also from BTVS) who grows from a bumbling, cowardly buffoon who can't even take on a vampire, to a rugged warrior who does the hard things no one else will; Charles Gunn who changes from a hardened young man who has to fight vampires to survive on the streets, to a polished grown-up who realizes his self-worth(he's also one of the few non-white characters in the series, so having him on the show was a great thing; also, the actor plays Mike Peterson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.); Fred, who grows from a timid scientific genius traumatized by her time in a demon dimension to becoming an excellent scientist and a tough, brave fighter; Lorne, the lovable, music-loving demon who has to go against his own goodness to help the greater good. And lastly, there is Angel himself, who undergoes such a great metamorphosis, his character is nearly unrecognizable from the guy we last saw on BTVS(in a good way) by the show's end.

    The series, as I mentioned before, is more adult in tone and the stories it tells are much more gray than BTVS(which had a lot of gray in it to begin with), with the heroes making very questionable choices and characters you'd think would be evil, actually not being so. The show's dark feel might not be for everyone(and it does get a bit bizarre around season 3-4),  but I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing of this series and I look forward to watching it again and, hopefully, sharing it with others :).
I would recommend this show for 16+ (for violence and sexual content).

Favorite episodes
A Hole in the World
Five by Five
Not Fade Away
You're Welcome
I've Got You Under My Skin
Rm w/a Vu
Waiting in the Wings, Lullaby 
Through the Looking Glass/There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb 
Spin the Bottle 
Smile Time 
Power Play 
The Girl in Question
To Shansu in L.A.
The House Always Wins
The Ring
Parting Gifts
Dead End
Over the Rainbow 
Blood Money 
Peace Out
Shiny Happy People 
The Magic Bullet
Harm's Way 
The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco

(just so you know, I have yet to see Torchwood: Miracle Day. I have watched the other seasons, though, and Miracle Day is finally on Amazon Prime).
                   I started Torchwood with a pretty good idea what it was going to be about(though not completely) and looked forward to some Doctor Who-like fun with serious themes and of course, the awesome John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness.
   And, for a fairly campy show(I mean, seriously, that monster at the end of season 1? So silly looking!), it actually gets very dark and very deep at times. There were several times that I found myself extremely impressed at the emotion, the messages, and the themes explored in this serious. For those of you who expect the fun, child-friendly feel of Doctor Who(except for episodes like Doomsday, where it's depressing), don't expect Torchwood to be the same. It may take place in the same world, and have Captain Jack in it, but this show is completely different in feel. While the Doctor always finds a way where he can make the right choice, it isn't so in Torchwood; these people are the ones who have to make the call on decisions where there is no right answer.
         Another great thing about this series is that, for the most part, these characters aren't what you'd consider 'good people'(except Toshiko and Ianto, as well as Captain Jack at times). Yet, even when they are unlikable, they are real people and you care about them and their well-being. In fact, this is one of the only shows to legitimately make me cry(instead of just tearing up); the actors in that scene were flawless, as was the writing. So, if you can handle the dark nature(and the camp), as well as the inappropriate content, this is a show, if you love Doctor Who, I'd recommend you giving a watch.

Recommended for 18+ (I watched it when I was 17, but that's what I'd recommend for most).

Favorite episodes
All 5 days of Torchwood: Children of Earth
Exit Wounds
Small Worlds
From Out of the Rain
They Keep Killing Suzie
A Day in the Death
Dead Man Walking
End of Days
Captain Jack Harkness
Random Shoes
Out of Time

Robin Hood(BBC)
                      I was very excited when I heard that BBC had done a TV series on Robin Hood. The BBC has some great shows(Doctor Who, Sherlock, Torchwood, etc) and I've always loved the tale of Robin Hood(I used to play it as a tween/teen); I was also excited to see Richard Armitage in another role, since I loved him as Thorin in The Hobbit film(the first was the only one out at the time of my viewing).
      And it was just as good as I was hoping. The first episode was a bit lacking, but the show really picked up and I really liked all of the characters(Robin, sadly, rubbed the wrong way at times so I wasn't able to like him as much as I would have liked) and the plot-lines. The heroes are all great and fleshed out and it's a shame they didn't give the side actors more to do since they were all extremely talented; the female characters are especially great, with Marian and Djaq being my favorite. Both are strong, capable, well-developed characters, which, as a feminist, was really great to see. The male side characters were also very likable and good individuals, which I really enjoyed(Much kind of reminded me of myself at times, which was fun XD). The villains are also amazingly hilarious! Richard Armitage plays Guy of Gisbourne exceedingly well, his character going through a brilliant bit of development. The Sheriff of Nottingham was HILARIOUS! He's evil, yes, but I found myself cracking up at his antics all the time. Good stories always do well with good bad guys, and this show definitely has them.

I recommend this show for 13-14 +

Romeo X Juliet
Minor Spoilers
               As an actor and a lover of literature, I've always been interested in Shakespeare plays and interpretations of them. Romeo and Juliet was never my favorite(I'm not one for love at first sight and people who kill themselves for someone they just met), but when my sister told me about this series, I was instantly interested. Romeo and Juliet, but with a fantasy-esque twist? Yes, give it to me!
    Romeo X Juliet takes the basic idea of the original play(of two families warring with each other in Verona, and son of Montague and the daughter of Capulet falling in love) and heightens everything; the families aren't just arguing, one actually slaughtered the other and the fight doesn't just include the families, but the entire world. Romeo and Juliet are both fleshed out and made much more likable than their play counterparts(since Romeo was a womanizing jerk in the original), and both undergo a nice amount of character development. I normally don't like romance like the one here(where it's a bit immature at times), but it actually works pretty well here, which was probably helped by the fact that I loved the both of them as people. The plot as a whole does get a little bogged down in the beginning, but once you hit the half-way point, it is pure amazingness. The ending is also very satisfying and very appropriate, and even though it was sad, I found myself smiling during the last few minutes. Fans of Shakespeare will also appreciate the use of language and references sprinkled throughout this series. Definitely one of my favorite anime TV series, and one I'd recommend for anyone with a love of anime, Shakespeare, or just good fantasy in general.

recommended for 14+

Death Note

              Death Note is a chilling tale of the evils that come with power(supernatural or otherwise). What would you do if you could control the fates of those you consider evil? What if you could rid the world of evil, yet it would cost you your soul? Would you do it?
    Death Note explores these questions intelligently, provides thought-provoking discussion, and shows how even the best of intentions can be soured by corruption and fear, as well as making you question your own ideals. Even I, at the beginning, didn't know who to side with since, even though the Death Note is an evil device, I could definitely understand where Light(our protagonist) was coming from(at first, anyway; once he started killing innocent people and petty criminals, I stopped being able to understand). Getting rid of evil scumbags like rapists and murders is a good idea, in theory, and something I agree with,  but is it really right to take a life when it's not in self-defense or in the rescue of someone in harm's way(or in combat)? The show had a lot of gray elements which I thoroughly enjoyed thinking about.
        The story follows two leads, Light Yagami a young student(our main character and also the antagonist of the story) and L(a mastermind detective and the show's hero figure) as they chase each around, trying to trip the other up, discover their identity, and stop them. Both are well developed and interesting to follow. The side characters are also great and enjoyable and several have awesome characters arcs, such as Matsuda who has one of my favorite moments in the last episode. The ending was strange, but oddly fitting, though it left me wondering about what happened in the aftermath- the eeriness of it(as well as the symbolism) was enough to make up for it and I think it worked quite well.
      Don't worry humor fans, this show isn't just a dark, depressing, thoughtful tale; it can, in fact, be quite hilarious at times! L is very funny and his interactions with the other characters are perfect! Ryuk, a Shinigami(Japanese god of death) also provides some excellent bits of humor, as does Misa, Matsuda, and Light.

I'd recommend this for 15 + (Just a word of warning for viewers, there is one scene early on the story, which shows a girl almost being assaulted on the street, which is really creepy).

Princess Tutu

        My sister recommended this show to me a while back and I finally got around to it recently. And she was correct, it was a very good show! It does have a childish name, which might turn off potential viewers(it makes me think of such children's titles as Strawberry Shortcake, Princess Lovely Locks*gack! I didn't watch it, but I heard of it and saw clips and it's dumb!*, and Power Rangers), but it is definitely not one of those overly-kiddie shows. Yes, it is fairly child friendly(I could have watched it as a young kid and have been fine), but it is mature a well, with amazing core characters, an interesting story-line, and the unique usage of ballet. The first several episodes are a little formulaic and weird, but once you get past those, the plot starts to pick up, you get used to the weird stuff, and the outcome is an excellent story. Another part I enjoyed about the story's format was how ballet(and point/toe) was incorporated into the series. I did ballet for seven years(I've also done tap, jazz, and Irish dancing) , from ages 4-10, and it was a very important element in my life- it is what helped me discover my love of acting, and performing in general. Seeing ballet utilized so well in a show made my love of ballet come back to me again and it's made me even more excited about getting to take Beginning Ballet in college! :) The music was also gorgeous, and I loved picking out the musical numbers I knew(I was especially excited to hear Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie No. 1, which plays when Princess Kraehe makes her first few appearances, and is a song I played in one of my piano recitals).
      This anime  has quite a few memorable characters, but the best, for  me, would be the core cast. Each is interesting and not who they seem at first and it's a lot of fun to watch and see as who they truly are comes to the forefront. My favorite character, though, would have to be Fakir. I have always loved a good anti-hero(think Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender), and Fakir is one of the best I've come across. At first, he comes across as a jerk, but the changes he goes through and what we learn about his psyche over the course of the show's run were exciting and heartfelt. In fact, most of my favorite episodes are the ones with him in it a lot. Duck, the lead, is also a well done character; she has a positive attitude and a sense of wanting to do the right thing(and her voice is adorable). A lot of humor comes from her character as well, which brings a sense of levity when it starts to get darker. One thing I appreciated was how Duck changed over the course of the series. At the beginning, she had an extreme child-like view of the world- the main reason she wanted to return the heart shards to Mytho was because she had feelings for him. However, as she grows, matures, and learns more about the world she lives in, I got the feeling that she wanted to return all of his heart shards because she wanted to save everyone, and because it was the right thing to do(even if it cost her her own happiness).

Spoilers! - I also was happy that Duck didn't end up with Mytho. It is all too common in fiction, so seeing a deviation from that trope was a good surprise. In a way, I'm glad it ended that way, since Duck's interactions with Fakir were much more entertaining and satisfying(same with Rue and Mytho- they just clicked better) than her and Mytho's.

I would recommend this for 9-10 + (younger kids could watch this as well, since it's about as scary as the darker Disney films).


       I recently was in the mood for some happy, silly fluff, and my sister recommended I watch "Gravitation", a shounen-ai anime, starring Shuichi Shindou, an aspiring singer and band leader. And it was pretty much what I was looking for(until the last episode, but more on that in a bit); it was very hilarious, light, and involved several things I'm interested in: performing, singing, and the show business. While not outstanding by any means, it's a nice change of pace from my usual intake of fiction(which tends to be dark, emotional, tragic, and deep) and I'm glad I watched it. 
      One thing I enjoyed was that, even though it's classified as a romance, it had an outside plot that was actually interesting and a large part of the story. All too often, that isn't the case(most painfully obvious in the new line of dystopias and of course paranormal romance YA books), so not seeing that here was impressive. I also really enjoyed the characters, particularly Shuichi; I found him really likable, relatable, and hilarious at times. His gutsty-ness in several instances were a perfect touch and something I was surprised at seeing(since in other shounen-ai I've heard about, one of the guy's is always a wimp). Sure he does have flaws- he's impulsive and he falls for Yuki way too fast, but it works well enough in the narrative that I was able to overlook it. 

     I did have a few problems with the show, however. One was that the relationship between the Shuichi and Yuki isn't that healthy. Yuki is abrasive, rude, and cruel at times to Shuichi and treats him poorly(mostly early on); I get why Yuki is the way he is, but it's not an excuse to treat well-meaning Shuichi the way he does. Another problem I had was the last episode. It was a complete 180 from the stated tone of the series thus far and gave me quite a whiplash. It does explain why Yuki is the way he is(and I'd already guessed because it was pretty obvious from the hints dropped through the series), but I found the scene deeply disturbing and I wish it had been given closure(since Yuki still blamed himself for something that was DEFINITELY not his fault). I get that's it was due to there being more story in the continuing manga, but I wish the story(the twist as well as the overall plotline) had been given a good, solid ending. 

I would recommend this for 17 + (for the extremely disturbing scene). 
Hope you enjoyed the post, readers! :) 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cosplay ideas take 2

A while back, I did a post on cosplays I'd like to do someday. My ideas have since grown and I now have a more complete list, which I'd like to share with you now :)

Obi-Wan Kenobi(TPM) for the Rebel Legion. I already have a good cloak, but I do need to remake my tunic, since for the Rebel Legion it has to be movie accurate. I also need to get boots, a belt, and the various things he carries on it. For hair, I plan on just putting it into a pony tail, using gel on my bangs to get them to lie right, and for the Padawan braid I'll either just make a braid or use hair extensions for it(probably both, so I can have it be long enough). 

Siri Tachi for the Rebel Legion. For this, I will probably use the same tunic from my Obi-Wan costume(since on the Secrets of the Jedi cover, they are wearing the same thing). I also plan on getting a blond wig for this one. 

Darth Zannah for the 501st. For this, I'll need some black robes(might have to make something up since there isn't an exact look for her) as well as a blond wig. 

Darth Revan for the 501st. This one will definitely take some work. I have a list of what I need and there is a lot(helmet will definitely be a challenge). 

                                   Luke Skywaker for the Rebel Legion. I always really liked Luke's outfit in Return of the Jedi. I basically just need a black jump suit(long sleeve shirt and pants), so this one shouldn't be too difficult.

                               Jaina Solo(Jedi outfit) for the Rebel Legion. Like Darth Zannah's, for Jaina I am going to make some things up as I go along with her costume(I will look at other cosplays of her to get some ideas). I'll also need a brown wig.

                                                  Satele Shan for the Rebel Legion. This one will take some work as well. I'll need to find the right kind of lightsaber as well some parts of the clothing(like the arm gauntlets).

                                       Padme Amidala(Rebel Legion) - I really like the outfit she has here. Her Tatooine Garb would be another I'd do for this character.

                                                        Buffy Summers(or my own slayer). This one is just clothing and a weapon or too, so it shouldn't be too difficult. If I do actually do Buffy Summers, I'll use one of the blond wigs I'm planning on getting.

                                                                    Thor. This costume is going to be really hard, but it will be really satisfying to get it finished. I'll also need a wig for this one.

                                                                    Loki. I am thinking of cosplaying as him from the first Thor movie. Like the Thor outfit, this one will be a challenge, but I look forward to making it as well(I'll also need a wig for this one).

                                                Eowyn (battle garb). I'll be doing the outfit she is wearing in battle(armor and all), which I think will be fun :).

Tauriel. This one should be really fun, especially considering how much I love her character after seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. 

                                                    Armin Arlert - I'll be getting the uniform(jacket included), as well as the green, survey corps, cloak. I also will need a wig(I have several potential ones), the maneuver gear, and two swords.

Levi. Same as above. I'll also need a boys wig (which I have found)

                                                                     Sasha Brauss. Even though the uniforms are pretty much the same for all the characters I'll be cosplaying from AoT, I will have to change the shirts for each since they look a little different for each person.

                                                                   Eren Jaegar(my sister found a wig for him, so I thought, why not!).

                                                                Mikasa Ackerman. I'm not half-Asian like she is, but I think I can pull it off okay.

                                                            Zuko. I will be definitely doing his look from season 3!

                                                                      Toph. This one will also be fun. The costume will be a bit difficult, but I can do it.

                                                      Lin Bei Fong

                                                                     Rose Tyler. I'm not sure which version of her I'll be doing, but I do really want to do her!

                                                     Belle (Once Upon A Time). This will probably be the first of her outfits I'll be doing(though I will be raising the neckline, since it's too low for my tastes) since it's the coolest, but I also want to do the blue dress she wears in The Crocodile as well as the classic light blue one.

                                                              Dean Winchester. I already have the leather jacket XD

                                               Eponine Thenardier - I actually have my own version of her costume now! :) I put it together for my Senior Pictures :)

                                                 Juliet from Romeo X Juliet - I'll be doing her fighter outfit and boy outfit, since they are my favorite.

                                                         Bastila Shan for the Rebel Legion. This one will be a bit difficult, but I should be able to come up with it.

                                                      Hermione Granger. I plan on doing her in Hogwarts cosplay(wizard robes, basically). I have the hair for it(especially if I fluff it out).

What do you all think? And do you have any ideas?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pens, Thespians, and Words Oscar Awards :)

Well, if you are like me and want to me an actor(or just love movies), you might have watched the Oscars last weekend. I sometimes miss it, but last Sunday I decided that, you know, I should watch it this year. It's always fun to watch and, even though my favorite films are hardly EVER nominated(seriously, if it were up to me, ALL the Star Wars movies and Lord of the Rings films would have gotten Best Picture), I do like seeing who wins. So, since movies I do love never get the chance to be nominated, I thought I'd do so here :)
And remember to check out my post below :)

Best Picture
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire
Ender's Game
Thor: The Dark World
Iron Man 3
12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Martin Freeman (The Hobit: DOS)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor: TDW)
Asa Butterfield (Ender's Game)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 3)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Leaonardo DiCaprio (The Great Gatsby) 

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Jennifer Lawrence (Catching Fire)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Tom Hiddleston (Thor: TDW)
Josh Hutcherson (Catching Fire)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit: DOS)
Aidan Turner (The Hobbit: DOS)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer's Club)
Sam Claflin (Catching Fire)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit: DOS)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Natalie Portman (Thor: TDW)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 3)
Jena Malone (Catching Fire)

Best Animated Feature
As the Wind Rises
Monsters University

Best Cinematography
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Ender's Game

Best Costume Design
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Thor: The Dark World
12 Years a Slave

Best Directing
Peter Jackson - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Francis Lawrence - Catching Fire
Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity
Shane Black - Iron Man 3

Best Documentary Short
I haven't watched any, so I don't know who I'd vote for

Best Film Editing
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire
Thor: The Dark World
Iron Man 3

Best Foreign Language Film
I haven't watched any currently released Foreign Language films

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Thor: The Dark World
Catching Fire

Best Original Score
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World

Best Original Song
"Let it Go" from Frozen
"I See Fire" from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Best Production Design
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Ender's Game

Best Animated Short Film
same as before

Best Live Action Short Film

Best Sound Editing
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire

Best Sound Mixing
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Thor: The Dark World

Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Ender's Game
Star Trek: Into Darkness

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Ender's Game
12 Years A Slave

Best Original Screenplay
Thor: The Dark World
Iron Man III

So, what do you think of my Oscar awards and what films would you have nominated? :)

And since my friend James from JandJ Productions had the Sunflower Award on his blog and tagged anyone who wanted to answer his questions, I thought I'd do so here

What is your favorite movie/TV/anime/video game soundtrack (and no, musicals do not count)?: My favorite soundtracks are- Star Wars, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, Firefly/Serenity, Doctor Who/Torchwood, Attack on Titan, Romeo X Juliet, and various Studio Ghibli movies. 

What are your opinions on the supposed "classic" films such as The GodfatherCitizen KaneGone with the Wind, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you have not seen any of them, do you ever plan to watch them?: I haven't seen too many classic films as of yet, but I definitely plan to at some point since, as an aspiring actor, they will be important for me to see(though I have seen some classic films). 

What is your opinion of anime?: I really like it! :) It's a different way of telling stories, which I find entertaining and awesome :) 

What is your favorite anime? (if you have not seen anime, what is your favorite animated series): 
For TV series, definitely Attack on Titan(Shingeki no Kyojin)- it's amazing, I love the characters, plot, music, and world. Basically, I'm really obsessed with it. I also love Romeo X Juliet, Death Note, Fruits Basket, and Princess Tutu. I also plan on watching several other animes soon :). 

For movies, probably a tie between my top three favorite Studio Ghibli films. My favorite anime films are- Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Tales from Earthsea, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The Secret World of Arietty, Howl's Moving Castle, The Cat Returns, Whispers of the Heart, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Tortoro, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Since I haven't gotten Fangirl of the Day yet and a fun idea :)

So, since I haven't been Fangirl of the Year yet(I sent my application in back in early 2013), even after I contacted Ashley, I thought I'd just do it myself. So here goes :) (and I bet it will happen soon for me now that I've posted this).

I'm currently finishing 12th Grade and I'll be staring school in the fall. 
As for occupation, I plan on being an Actor, Writer, Singer, and Taekwondo master :) And a director as well :). 

What is her fangirl interest? (done worry, it wasn't this long when I sent mine in). 
Movies: Star Wars films(especially Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi), Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter series, The Hobbit films, The Avengers, Serenity, The Chronicles of Narnia films, Mulan, Thor films, Iron Man 3, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Tales from Earthsea, Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame(all version), Children Who Chase Lost Voices, Catching Fire, Inception, I Am Legend, Ender's Game, The Hunger Games, Big Fish, Howl's Moving Castle, The Princess Bride, The Land Before Time films, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Golden Compass, Beauty and the Beast, Brave, The Secret World of Arietty, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Cat Returns, Whispers of the Heart, X-Men films, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Back to the Future Trilogy, Avatar, Spider-Man trilogy, The Crucible, Iron Man, Star Trek, Batman Begins, The Lion King, Toy Story trilogy, Tangled, Frozen, Godspell, Wicked, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, WALLE, How to Train Your Dragon, My Neighbor Toroto, Kiki's Delivery Service, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, The Matrix, Indiana Jones, Castle in the Sky, and others. 

TV shows: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Once Upon A Time, North and South(civil war miniseries), Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Angel, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Supernatural, Torchwood, BBC Robin Hood, Attack on Titan(Shingeki no Kyojin), Romeo X Juliet, Death Note, Fruits Basket, Agents of SHIELD, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Kyle XY, Star Trek(the Original series so far), Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Princess Tutu, and Merlin. I also watch Modern Family and I used to watch Glee. 

Books: Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jedi Apprentice series, Secrets of the Jedi, Jedi Quest series, Revenge of the Sith novelization, Harry Potter series, Young Jedi Knights series, Wild Space, Shatterpoint, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last of the Jedi series, Junior Jedi Knights, Legacy of the Jedi, Underland Chronicles, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus series, The Seventh Tower series, Abhorsen trilogy, Sea of Trolls trilogy, Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Darth Bane trilogy, The Phantom Menace novelization, Rogue Planet, Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, The House of the Scorpion, Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Hobbit, The Silver Crown, Labyrinth of Evil, Speaker for the Dead/Ender's Game, Chaos Walking trilogy, The Power of Five series, Artemis Fowl series, The Golden Compass, Fatal Alliance, Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Barmarre, Sisters of the Sword, Lost Years of Merlin series, Icemark Chronicles, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Prydain Chronicles, The Wild Girls, That Girl Lucy Moon, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Well of Sacrifice, Speak, The Cestus Deception, The Silmarillion, The Golden Goblet, Hate List, Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Outlaws of Sherwood Forest, The Patron Saint of Butterflies, The Sound and the Fury, Companions quartet, Leviathan trilogy, The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Drowning Instinct, Deceived, Knight Errant, The Taking, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, Darth Plagueis, The Secret Garden, and others. 

Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Siri Tachi, Jaina Solo, Anakin Skywalker, Qui-Gon Jinn, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Solo, Tahiri Veila, Tenel Ka Chume Ta' Djo, Satele Shan, Nomi Sunrider, Vima Sunrider, Meetra Surick, Shaak Ti, Luminara Unduli, Barriss Offee, Aayla Secura, all other Jedi(except the bad ones), Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, Eowyn, Samwise Gamgee, Frodo Baggins, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Thorin, Legolas, Kili, Balin, Aragorn, Gimli, Zuko, Katara, Toph, Sokka, Aang, Suki, Azula, Mai, Ty-Lee, Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Spike, Angel, Rupert Giles, Oz, Doyle, Xander Harris, Wesley Wyndom-Price, Fred(Winifred) Burkle, Cordelia Chase, Anya, Charles Gunn, Lorne, Dawn Summers, Simon Tam, River Tam, Malcolm Reynolds, Kaylee, Shepherd Book, Jayne, Zoe, Wash, Rose Tyler, the Doctor, Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Toshiko Sato, Owen Harper, Rumplestiltskin, Belle, Emma Swan, Baelfire/Neal, Mulan, Aurora, Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Castiel, Anna May Smith, Mr. Bates, Mary Crawley, Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Carson, Thomas Barrow, Edith Crawley, Matthew Crawley, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Ender Wiggin, Todd Hewitt, Viola Eade, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Dom Claude Frollo, La Esmeralda, Armin Arlert, Levi Rivaille, Eren Jaegar, Jean, Sasha, Connie, Mikasa, Chrita, Ymir, Petra, Juliet, Romeo, and others. 

Why did you decide to shine the spotlight on this fangirl? 
I had wanted to send in one since, I am a fangirl/geek, and I think that all girls who love something should be included in this list. Plus, I know both what it's like to not be surrounded by fans(I had this for years) and have to build by strong sense of being a geek on my own, as well as knowing the feeling of being in a like-minded community who enjoy the same things that I do. 

How does this fangirl express her fandom? 
By watching/read various geeky things, writing, acting, singing, doing Taekwondo(since I want to learn to fight like all the cool characters I watch/read about), as well as cosplaying, blogging, running Facebook fanpages, doing things on tumblr, and writing fanfiction. 

What is her favorite quote or personal motto? 
My favorite quote is "You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you"  from Revenge of the Sith
my favorite motto is "Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone". 

What is her favorite fangirl item that she cannot live without?
My computer! Without it, I'd be very disconnected to my fandoms. 

Where can we follow her online? 
Well, my blog is here.
Pens, Thespians, and Words (fanpage for this blog) -

Okay, so here is a cool idea I had. For a long time, I have wanted to make sure I included characters in my works of fiction based on my friends and since I've seen several authors do this, I decided to let them come up with how the characters are(and I will put your characters in my more recent works). 

Here are some questions for you to fill out in the comments 

1: Name used(first only) 
2: How large of a character do you want to be?
3: Which genre of fiction do you want them to appear in?(science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary fiction). 
4: How old do you want them to be?
5: How do you want their character's personality to be?
6: Which side of the conflict do you want to be on?
7: How do you want them to look?

Let me know in the comments :) Looking forward to this :). 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Attack on Titan review

I dedicate this review in memory of my cousin who passed away this last Wednesday.

                                "You can't expect a horror story to have a happy ending"

This review won't pose any major spoilers- I might mention a couple of things, but they won't be anything too important.

              Unlike my sister, I am not sure I'm what you'd call an Otaku. I really love anime- I love almost all of the Studio Ghibli films, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, Romeo X Juliet, Attack on Titan(of course), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Fruits Basket, and what I've seen so far of Death Note- but I'm not as obsessed as she, and several of her other friends, are. However, due to her showing me several funny fan-dubbed silly videos with this anime, I just felt the need to watch this series- which hasn't happened with that many shows- anime or otherwise- before. It looked exciting, I was drawn to the cool character design, the idea of the plot, and the super awesome uniforms(and maneuver gear). Armin also looked like a really interesting character, as did Levi and Jean, and so I went and found the show and basically marathoned it in a little over a week and a half- watching it whenever I wasn't doing school, going to an activity, or something else on my computer(I tried to watch at least two episodes a day).
        And I have to say, this TV series is AWESOME!! :D Even if one isn't a fan of anime, I think many people could enjoy it- it doesn't have too many of the different things used in anime that can turn some people off, and for the most part it is serious and dark. Also, another thing I appreciated was that there isn't any 'fan service' or 'male gaze' in the series, and that the girls are portrayed as real people- some powerful fighters some not, and basically having the complexities of the male characters- and wear the same uniforms as their male comrades, which I greatly enjoyed seeing(yay!).

       As you may know, the story takes place in a almost-alternate earth- it takes place in the 800s, yet the setting seems to be a combination of medieval times(the castles, swords, and such) and the 1600/1700s(since they have rifles and cannons); it also, taking into account the way everything looks and some of the characters last name, seems to take place in Germany.
     In the story, a hundred years ago a monstrous foe appeared, that of the Titans, which are basically human-like giants that eat humans(even though they don't need them for sustenance). By the time our story starts, humankind has nearly been wiped out and, as far as we know, only exist in a three-walled city. Humankind has lived safely in these walls for many years until one day....

    As a show, it has quite a lot of things going for it- not only does it have realistic people(which I'll get to more below), but it has an overall sense of realism that makes the story feel a whole lot more real. In fact, I can think of only one instance where something happened that I found unlikely and that unlikely thing is really my only complaint about the series. Another positive trait this show has is the epic action sequences by the use of the maneuver gear. It is a very imaginative, unique way of showing action, and is one action-fans of myself really appreciate- can't wait to see more of it in season two(which, from my continued reading of the manga, is going to be even better than season 1! :D). Also, both theme songs are AMAZING! I keep listening to them, in fact XD.

      Before I talk about the shows positive traits in detail, I wanted to bring up my only complaint, so I could get it out of the way. And that would be that, somehow, two nine year old children are able to kill three grown ups. It is shown in a way that makes it plausible, but as someone who has been around kids of that age, sparred with kids of that age, and remembers being that age, it was something that made me go "ummm, I don't really think I can believe that." Not only are nine-year-olds physically a whole lot weaker than grown ups are and will definitely be overpowered by said adult, I have fought people who were this age in class and I could easily overpower these kids(even the bigger ones who have more muscle mass than a typical nine/ten year old) if I wanted to. Not only are pre-pubescent incapable of physically besting an adult, they aren't mentally able to either. I mean, unless they are sick in the head, a child won't be able to intentionally kill someone. I remember being nine and, even though I would sometimes say that I wanted to beat up a really bad person, I definitely wasn't capable of actually killing someone(now, if it was in self-defense or to protect another person from being killed/raped- I could, but only as a last resort). And neither are most kids- heck, some adults can't even kill a person. So, I don't know, that just didn't seem to fit with the otherwise very realistic set-up this show has.

     Okay, now that that's out of the way, I now want to talk about the awesome parts of this show!
As I mentioned earlier, I really appreciate the gritty realism the show projects. Titans, if they were real, would scare anyone shitless, so showing everyone(except for a select few) being terrified, messed-up, and panicking was, as a person interested in psychology and how PTSD affects others, very effective and made me believe that humanity was on the brink of extinction and caused me to get very invested in the plight of the characters. Scenes from a survey corps leader breaking down in front of a grieving mother to a soldier panicking and refusing to go back and fight Titans were all powerful and really showed the other side of war and battle that a lot of shows exclude- not everyone is going to be gung-ho and rush into battle without a glimmer of terror, and in doing this, it shows true bravery in those who, while scared-sick, still go out and fight. And that's something I think is important to show- bravery isn't the absence of fear, it is overcoming that fear and being able to act in spite of it.
     Not only does Attack on Titan show the heroics of humanity, it also shows the dark aspects of it as well. Hate, greed,  and cruelty are all explored and not only in designated 'bad people' (like the merchants), but in some of our main characters. No one on the show is perfect and that is good, because even the best people can have their cruel moments.

      The show(and the manga) has a pretty large cast, and even though there are three designated leads, the story explores each of them in turn and we get to know them all fairly well. They are all different and, from my experiences in watching movies and television and reading books, they don't completely conform to any stereotypes.

First off, we have Eren Jaegar(or Yaeger), who is our lead characters. Eren is a pretty unique lead in several ways, especially the fact that he isn't the best at everything. In a lot of not-so good works, the main character are often the BEST out of EVERYONE and will almost always be stronger, better, smarter, etc than everyone else(especially if they are a guy). Eren however, isn't; sure, he can fight and has the determination it takes to be a soldier in this world, but he is pretty much average in most things- he has friends who are physically stronger than him, who are smarter than him, who are more skilled then him, etc. Yet, it does make sense that we are primly following his story- as not to spoil anything, I won't give away how he is important to the overall plot, but the way he is is very well done and actually doesn't make him annoying. Another trait I like is that of his single-mindedness. Even in the darkest of shows, most people are romantically interested in someone. Not Eren- he is so focused on VENGEANCE that during the entire show and manga so far, he hasn't shown any interest in anyone at all, which I think is quite unique for a lead. In fact, the anime/manga is light on romance in general- there are a few instances of people liking others(Ymir is in love with Christa, Jean is attracted to Mikasa, Reiner is attracted to Christa, Levi was going to get married to someone, and a couple of other small ones that get a passing mention). I like a well-written romance as well as the next person(though I don't read romance novels or watch romance movies, since I don't like those types of things), but having a show like this that doesn't really really go into it are nice to see :).

The second lead is that of Mikasa Ackerman- quiet, reserved, and the probably the second best fighter in the entire series(after Levi, who is the best). I have to say, it's nice to see a story where the girl is the better fighter in a trio(here the trio is Eren, Mikasa, and Armin) of characters, which is quite rare. She practically can scare anyone if she wants to, is one of the few characters I don't get worried about when fighting a Titan, and yet, she doesn't fall into the 'stoic, unemotional tough girl' that is a common stereotype. Strong women(just like strong men), can be vulnerable, cry and care about others deeply, which brings me to another great thing about this series- the lack of shame for tears. Almost everyone cries- Eren, Armin, Mikasa, Jean, Hannes, and even others in the Survey Corps(which goes out and fights Titans in their own territory), and that is great. Because, all too often, tears and crying are believed to be considered weak or pathetic and I am glad that shows/movies/books like this are beginning to show that everyone cries and that there isn't anything wrong with it.

My personal favorite character, is that of Armin Arlert. Armin is different than your typical male character. He isn't physically strong, yet he is very smart and, unlike what I've heard from other shows who have a similar archetype, he actually does do his part in the narrative and is, in fact, extremely vital to how things turn out. Since he isn't the best fighter, he has to use his brain to survive and, in the process, has ended up saving many people. He has figured out a myriad of things his officers and peers didn't even notice. It always surprises me that people call him names, since even though isn't the strongest physically, he never came across to me as a weak person. Sure, he froze up in his first battle but who can really blame him? Most people did(like I said, actually being near a Titan would be scary) and he does get past it and ends up being one of the most badass characters on the show(really, it makes him all the braver, since he isn't the best fighter, yet he still goes out and fights for humanity). Also, he is very tactical, wise, and a philosophical, deep thinker- seriously, sometimes he reminded me of the Greek Philosophers of long ago.

Other great characters in the series include
Levi Rivaille- Humanity's best soldier, stoic yet caring, 5'3(which I love!) in height, scary to some of the main characters, and a clean freak. He is definitely a very interesting character and one I look forward to getting to learn more about and see more of.

Sasha Braus- A good soldier, easily excited, loves eating(like, she's obsessed, especially potatoes and meat), an excellent archer and hunter, and pretty high strung. Also, very creative and imaginative, which really helps her out. And, hilarious, of course XD.

Jean Kirschtein- At first a bit of a jerk, he ends up becoming one of the more interesting characters in the series. A good leader, a caring person, and very passionate, he is definitely someone you want on your side in a fight. His friendship with Armin is also something I really enjoy seeing.

Christa Lenz- She isn't in the anime as much, but her role gets very important one you get into the later sections of the manga. A nice, kind person who harbors several secrets, and is very impulsive and reckless, she's definitely an interesting character and doesn't fall into the Mary-Sue trope, which is nice.

Connie Springer- Compassionate, brave, resilient and determined, Connie has definitely grown on me, especially since starting the manga and he looks to be having a really interesting story-line coming up.

Ymir- Hardly shown at all in the anime, she really starts to become an interesting character in the later parts of the manga. She is apparently uncaring and selfish, yet she deeply cares(and is in love with, according to the author) Christa. She is fulfilling a role typically seen only with male characters, so that's something I find fascinating.

Reiner Braun(and his friend Bertolt)- Nice guys who also, like Christa, harbor secrets. Their characters are very interesting and are integral to some important plot points.

Annie- A very powerful fighter, mysterious, and a total badass(5 foot and can take down people an entire foot taller than herself- love her!). She is also very integral to the overall plot and has some great backstory(what little we see, that is).

Others characters I enjoy are- Petra, Marco, the rest of Levi's squad, Erwin, Hannes, Hange, as well as other characters. :)

Overall, I would definitely recommend this show to anyone over the age of 15 who can handle gore, violence, and cussing(because there is a LOT of it). So if you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for!?
Then, once you are done, I would recommend starting the manga where the anime left off- it's really exciting so far and I can't wait to see where the story leads! :D
Fun watching!
Jedi me signing out :).