Archive for October, 2009

Bakemonogatari: a celebration of life with ghosts and spirits

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I have been highly productive with regard to anime. After waiting about a day reflecting on the second season of Gundam 00, I decided to start viewing (on just a whim) Bakemonogatari. I could not stop watching it, and I realized that it was among the best anime this year has offer. I loved it not because it was trailblazing or totally original like Mononoke; I loved it because aside from its story (which was entertaining enough) it was also stylistically both unique and pleasant. While it borrowed concepts from Mononoke (I thought this was evident enough as I went through the series), xxxHolic and Requiem from the Darkness, it still was original and witty enough to be an excellent watch for this year.

I also loved how the subplots (the different oddities encountered and the person suffering them) contributed to the development of the characters. One can see how Hitagi grows from a callous and totally cold woman to someone who has learned to care for another, but it is a testament to the greatness of the series that Hitagi does not become perfect: she is still verbally abusive and offensive at times, but she usually more than makes up for it with her kind words. There is a similar development among the others featured in the series, with Mayoi, Kanbaru, and Nadeko, who have changed directly or tangentially because of Koyomi’s involvement with them.

Unlike Mononoke, however, the series is of a lighter tone. It still got bloody quite a few times, but the presence of the amusing wordplay, the allusions to memes and other series (the one I found most notable were allusions to Doraemon and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) contributed to a more jocular series.

I laughed out loud when I saw this. This is quintessential 4chan.

I laughed out loud when I saw this. This is quintessential 4chan.

Finally, the TV ending of the series (of course one knows that there are still three episodes left) was a great culmination of the series. It could be seen that Hitagi has finally opened herself up not merely because she was rid of the oddity that befell her, but because she has truly fallen in love for the first time with our lovable and heroic protagonist. Even if one ended with the 12th episode, one could see that the series has come full circle: it started with Hitagi, and it ended with her as well. From an ice queen she has become transformed into a human, and she has become (despite all her quirks and idiosyncrasies) a woman who loved with all her heart. The emotional aspect of Bakemonogatari (aside from its interesting stories) gives it humanity. It does not dwell on man’s evil but cherishes life, love, and forgiveness, and this gives it an advantage other horror series don’t really possess. 🙂

It hasn’t been the best anime I have ever seen, but I can say that it ranks among the best. In my own, personal ranking it’s probably a 9.25/10.

What did you guys think of Bakemonogatari? Is it utter pretension, or a work of art?

Gundam 00 S2: firestarting that latent addiction

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I recently finished my first anime marathon ever since I started medical school. To sum everything up: feels good man. With that said, I was able to do it because I resolved to wean myself off bidding on eBay. I am extremely grateful for those who commented on my previous post and the grains of wisdom within their comments. I was wavering with symptoms of withdrawal beforehand, but I am glad to say that it has been a week since I have bid on anything on eBay. It may be a minutiae to many, but it is something significant to me. As I believe this will become a relatively lengthy post, I will divide the post between its central part [the anime part] and the personal part [my continuing battle against addiction], as I feel writing about my problems will help solve it.

I really like Feldt.

I really like Feldt.

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Is addiction better than cure?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I am a person who possesses a lot of discipline with regard to the things I deem important: for example, I am rarely late at meetings, and it has come to my attention that I am usually the first to arrive at the rendezvous point. I also exercise when I deem myself needing it, and I also have discipline to submit pertinent requirements on time. However, I still lack discipline with certain things, and most important among those are my wanton purchases on eBay. Despite the helpful comments that people have suggested in my previous elaboration of this quasi-addiction of mine, I have not been able to successfully conquest this demon of spending on unnecessary things. I have purchased some more video games the past month, in addition to purchasing a vintage set of headphones (which, to my dismay, are uncomfortable despite having good sound).

vidya1 (more…)

Evil as entertainment

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

It has almost been half a year since I have read anything literary. I realized that in this quasi-break of ours (after all, there are no classes and exams) I needed to catch up on my literature, even if by a little. I actually had a title in mind, and it was Solomon Grunsky Was Here by Mordecai Richler. It just popped out of my mind one morning while I was sauntering around, and that was also the morning where I visited a second-hand bookstore with a cheap but well-tended copy of the novel. Despite the length, I bought the book and started reading it a week ago.

Remember the yellow butterflies?

Remember the yellow butterflies?

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Hatsukoi Limited: first love never dies

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I am extremely glad that there are still people who read my new posts. They are most certainly not as frequent or constant as six months ago, but then again I wasn’t in medical school that time. Nevertheless, I promise to update (and this time, I will fulfill this) at least once a week. I have little ability in writing, and I feel that if I don’t use it I will lose it altogether. Medical school has been full of scientific and sequestered writing, and I feel that to retain this small creative edge I have to keep on writing, despite everything. I have made medical school my excuse, but if I only spent a little time everyday in cooking up a short post, I’m certain I will be able to have at least one post in a week. (more…)

Of love and other demons

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I have been able to look at anime from a somewhat distant and consequently rational manner because I have never experienced quite a number of the phenomena it evidences. I would only understand the idea of romantic love empirically, through the eyes of others: I had never fallen in love before, but I knew what love was, and I knew it was the reason why I survived until this day. I had known love, but only of the familial kind.

I’m, of course, not love’s cynic. Otherwise, Honey and Clover wouldn’t be one of my all-time favorites, and Maison Ikkoku wouldn’t even garner any mentions from me. I long realized that I was a romantic at heart, but I was simply never moved by another before. I think I’m not afraid of commitment: my entire life has been my commitment to family. I could have pursued literature, after all. I could have excelled in physics or chemistry. Instead, I chose medicine, and I chose it because I love my family. I am also not afraid of love, but I have never been moved by it in reality.

That was the case until now.

A few days ago, while conducting some preliminary scouting for our research, our group traipsed through the night in Bacolod: it was, after all, a celebratory time. It was Masskara, the festival of masks. There was a street party going on (it was my first time experiencing it), and so there were a lot of people around. During that time I saw the most beautiful woman in the world in my opinion, and it was cathartic, because I never thought I would see anyone as beautiful in reality. Her skin was exquisite china, and her eyes were as colorful as cats’. I would like to say that it was a fairy tale, but being my first time experiencing it, all I could blurt out to her was that I thought she was very beautiful.

Then I was gone. Then she too.

I realize that while I didn’t blush, the romance anime that I like, from the romantic comedies to dramatic tragedies, really reflected the feeling of falling in love. It doesn’t emulate the reality of this existence like well-made movies, perhaps, but it really does reflect it: I had a lump in my throat and I was weak at the knees. It was both an exhilarating and despairing experience: I saw the only girl who ever made me weak at the knees and yet I wasn’t equipped enough to even ask her number, or her name. God both gave me an immense hope and a broken heart, and while I’m grateful for both (it’s been time), it hurts. I want to see her again.

Maybe even if I make mistakes this time I can ask for her name … or her number … or even if I’ll never be able to, just seeing her will probably more than brighten my day.

To the Korean or Chinese mestiza … if you read this … please contact me. 🙂