For the past few weeks I have been borderline anal with regard to English grammar. Mere peccadilloes seem to incur my wrath. As I reflected on my thoughts, I’ve grown to realize that my anger was uncalled for. To remind myself of my fallibility, I have decided to brush up on my English grammar. This serves a two-fold purpose: first, I can sublimate my irrational anger towards the procurement of knowledge; second, by reading about wise people and their works that reflect their wisdom, I become humbled as I am reminded that I still have much to learn about the synthesis of perfect sentences.
My plan has been mostly successful: instead of being angry at others, I have directed my energies to honing my ability to speak and write in English. I’ve also realized that I had no right to judge other people’s inability to speak or write proper English seeing that I still have much to improve on.
Anyway, the book was great: despite the age of Samuel Johnson’s hortations, the work still brims with wry wit and humor. I find that his descriptions of the letter ‘Y,’ then considered a vowel, to be quite funny: ‘Y is a vowel, which, as Quintilian observes of one of the Roman letters, we might want without inconvenience, but that we have it.’
Johnson has this to say about adjectives: ‘[t]he comparison of adjectives is very uncertain, and being much regulated by commodiousness of utterance, or agreeableness of sound is not easily reduced to rules.’
While a lot of the rules and observations regarding English grammar still apply today, the asides to me were more entertaining and offered a colorful picture of what the English language was at that time. It may not be as successful nowadays as a guide for grammar, but the book is enlightening as a zeitgeist of the English language during that time.
In great examples of media that feature an opposition of ideals, the villain (or antagonist) is just as important as the hero. The Dark Knight is one of the more recent examples of this: although Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman was cerebral and well-acted, it was undoubtedly Heath Ledger’s Joker who stole the show. He was irrational, brutal, and yet extremely effective. I even sincerely believe that as far as villains go, his was the best (and consequently, the worst): most people would agree, as he had won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. An actor portraying a supervillain winning an Oscar was unprecedented, yet most people were in approbation of the choice. The Dark Knight was nominated as one of the best pictures of 2008, and is recognized by many to be one of the best, if not the best superhero film of all time.
Psycho-Pass possesses the same dynamic: in a futuristic world that is half-Neuromancer and half-1984 (as Makishima connotes), crime is prevented before it has even occurred. The series undeniably borrowed elements from The Minority Report (written by Philip K. Dick, and also alluded to by Makishima) as well. The story begins relatively innocently, with an intelligent rookie joining the Public Security Bureau. As the crimes progress in severity and brutality, however, the idea that a mastermind acts as a puppet-master to all the heinous crimes recently committed surfaces. As the story unfolds, he was a familiar figure in Kougami Shinya’s past (the Batman of this series).
Makishima (or the Joker) is a bit of an anarchist, although like Joker he enjoys destruction in and of itself. The whole series is essentially a cat-and-mouse game between these two characters. Like The Minority Report, however, the Sibyl System that holds together the society that everyone currently enjoys actually comes from dubious sources. The question of ‘free will’ looms over the characters, and like Louis Salinger of 2009′s International, Kougami has to go beyond what is defined to be ‘law’ in their place to actually enforce justice.
I love the literary allusions, from Rousseau, Kierkegaard, Foucault, and even Jeremy Bentham. Is it truly all right to sacrifice one man for the good of mankind? Is he not a human being all the same? The series offers no easy answers, and the ending, while by no means surprising, is actually a revisit of the themes that pervaded Nolan’s Dark Knight: sometimes, the only ones who could dispense justice are the ones that go beyond the law.
It’s a brilliant series that has restored my faith in anime once more. It’s been a while since I truly wrote about anime, and while not as special to me as Tatami Galaxy, Psycho-Pass is a great anime to watch, to think about, and to enjoy.
I think the only point I was a bit turned off by Shark was when Yi Soo finally found out the truth behind his father. His breakdown, or ‘heroic blue screen of death,’ was a bit over-the-top and funny. Other than that the series was, at least for me, quite a well-planned series. I can only compare the show to movies like The International and The Parallax View: similar to both those films, Shark doesn’t really have a happy ending. Realistically speaking, however, I think that’s what happens when one tries to take down a person in the highest echelons of society: one must wade in the muck, and at times get dirty, to drag that person down to justice. Without really breaking any laws (other than his initial spark with Jung Man Chul), he dived deep into the mud and yet never really strayed again toward murder until Chairman Jo was caught. He still couldn’t escape Jo’s power, however.
Do I think it’s a fitting conclusion for him? No, because Kim Nam-gil is a great actor and I could really empathize with Yi Soo’s search for balance and justice. Realistically speaking, however, he was going to be incarcerated for murder; he would have had to still die for the sake of Yi Hyeon if he was going to save her. I have much respect for the show because they used ‘autoimmune hepatitis’ as a disease entity. We had one small-group discussion regarding that disease, and no one in our class got it right. It’s a bitch of a disease because of its protean manifestations: when I speak of protean, I pertain to non-specific signs and symptoms that may be confused with diseases which are more obvious. These are examples such as fatigue and malaise. When it comes to the point of Yi Hyeon (and we’ve been introduced ever since the earlier episodes that it wasn’t really just starting), it may have been a progressive disease that led to cirrhosis. Complications of cirrhosis include coagulopathy, which means that clotting is impaired. I think Yi Hyeon’s encephalopathy was reflected by her persistent loss of consciousness in the car. I’m no gastroenterologist, but the show was pretty accurate with the disease they chose and its manifestations: in intractable cases of hepatitis, liver transplantation is the only answer.
It was undeniable that he was going to give his life up for the sake of his sibling; he was already willing to pay for what his father had done, but most of the affected people (even Yi Soo) had moved on from the past and essentially just sought justice.
I don’t find the non-love story between Yi Soo and Hae Woo to be tacky, essentially because as a rational man, Yi Soo never really took advantage of Hae Woo as regards to her emotions toward him. He loved her, and that was reciprocated, but he never even dared to have sex with her even though it was obvious that she wanted it despite the fact that she was married. He wanted her near him, but it never really got beyond his kisses and hugs. The status quo in the love triangle was essentially maintained: Joon Young loved Hae Woo even though he knew she still loved Yi Soo all those years. I doubt whether they’d still have a child after all that but only time will tell. She probably wouldn’t betray her love for Yi Soo again, though.
It’s not as complicated and as intelligent as Joseon X-Files, but it’s one of the better dramas I’ve seen. The foreshadowing was well-done, the intricate exchanges and the chess game between Chairman Jo and Yi Soo were properly thought of for the most part. There’s just a little bit missing, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed in it. I loved how Yi Soo tried to pay for the sins of his parents after he realizes he was deeper in the muck than he initially imagined, and made peace with the people his father victimized. I like it better than the brutality of Devil, and it certainly had more closure than that series, although of course I wished for the more hopeful light of Resurrection. I wasn’t disappointed with what I watched, though: in the end Yi Soo became someone I could really cheer on because he did it his way, and did the right thing.
I think Summer 2013 will force me to return to watching anime.
I’ve ignored anime for too long.
But with the coming of Tsukihime, and even a new season of Spice and Wolf and the last season of Full Metal Panic, plus great manga adaptations such as Otoyomegatari, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan, and Yotsubato, I don’t think I can hold myself off any longer. Of course there’s also a new series helmed by Shinichiro Watanabe, and a new season of Sailor Moon.
Yesterday, I had so much to say about different things. I guess after running on a day and a half without sleep, what I had to say condensed itself a bit. Perhaps these may simply be rants, but I hope it makes sense to someone who’s reading it.
I developed a recent hobby after saving for and purchasing a rare Casio console roughly three years ago. After receiving the item I bought on eBay, I was exposed to its beauty and madness. I honestly still wish to purchase certain items, although I’m still sane enough that I can hold myself back from emptying my savings on an obsolete video game system.
I think my last chance was with someone who sells these systems with a fair price. That’s extremely rare, but it is possible when the magic of video game collection fades to become mere embers dovetails with the pragmatism of saving space and breaking even. I found someone like that who had sold a rare cartridge of a rare system for a fair, even cheap price, but sadly he hasn’t replied recently and I really don’t have much time to wait anymore.
I could try and return to pining for tees but then again a lot of the good ones still end up very expensive, and I get outbid most of the time. One tee that I kept on my watch list ended up selling for 50 dollars. That’s as expensive as brand new original Adidas shirts. I tried looking for alternatives. I’m just searching for stuff to bid for to transform boredom into pining.
And I found it in ballpens.
I had initially sought to purchase a Parker Jotter in violet, as that’s my favorite color, but then the curious part of me managed to end up interested in a Papermate Powerpoint. Currently, that’s what I’m bidding for. I never said it was sane, but people in such tiring and stressful situations such as I need something to run to aside from their friends and family. I have my chess and my video game collections. Seeing that both have slowly been taken away from me because of a lack of free time shared with friends, I decided to go with the name that was eponymous to an office program that has so many uses for a medical student. I’m hoping that I could win the bidding so I’ll probably increase my bid a bit more, but if I lose I will simply stop and look for other alternatives. Here’s hoping get to bid for a cheaper one.
I was interested in the pen because of its ability to write in any position, but I was interested primarily because of its amusing videos despite the pen’s age. Here’s one among them:
At the end of it all at least I’m no longer spending thousands on extremely obsolete video game systems. It saves me a lot more money, so I have to find even cheaper alternatives.
(Yes, it’s obvious that I didn’t even have energy to edit my sentences properly. Forgive me.)
I haven’t updated for some time although I tried to because I just had difficulty coming up with the right string of words to convey how I feel. But I just wanted to write how I felt, because I think Sakamichi no Apollon deserves it. At heart, Apollon is a romance show, but it’s different because it’s a romance show that’s directed by one of the greatest anime directors ever.
Within the dynamics of unrequited love Shininchiro Watanabe constructed a series that also puts the characters forward not only in their romance but in their growth as people. Only the greatest romance series could do so with consistency, as Honey and Clover did. In that sense the second episode served as an intermezzo for the third and first episodes. The third episode was simply beautiful to watch because it was borne of selfishness that is one of the hallmarks of true love.
It was only when it was too late that Kaoru realized Ritsuko’s fondness for Sentaro, that he had realized how much he had hurt her. What he had done in the ending was to confess in his own nerdy way, that he liked Ritsuko and not Yurika, and it was great to watch.
It’s also not hard to love a series whose lead character reminds you of yourself.
I probably won’t be able to write tomorrow seeing that I return to duty, but I like the new Lupin series. I didn’t even know Takashi Koike was involved, but I was impressed with the first episode, so I decided to keep watching. The second episode didn’t really let up in terms of quality, either. I hope the series keeps up the grit I’ve been seeing the past two episodes, because it is something one rarely sees in a Lupin III series.
I watched some Lupin III episodes back when I was younger, and I wasn’t impressed with the bungling misadventures of Lupin and his friends. However, in stark contrast to that, Lupin was a competent and intelligent thief in the very first episode of this Mine Fujiko series: his verbal fencing with Mine Fujiko and their maneuverings throughout the episode were fun to watch. The series seems to retain the insouciance of Lupin without making him seem like a joke character, which was what the original manga was all about anyway.
The second episode didn’t have less of that grit. Although it dealt with Jigen this time around, the story was actually quite captivating: it wasn’t until the end where Cicciolina’s motivations were cleared up, and it turned out to be no less than a tragedy.
I often feel empathetic toward stories that have one character seek their inexorable damnation through the people they love the most. I think I love the duality between love and sacrifice that evince itself through these situations: that’s probably the reason why I like the Cowboy Bebop movie quite a bit, because Vincent Volaju was a bit like Cicciolina.
There’s always something in a first episode that insinuates greatness in an anime. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s akin to a sliver of pain and happiness that touches the heart. I felt that from the very first minute I tuned in to Sakamichi no Apollon. Perhaps it’s because it’s been years since I heard YUKI in an anime series; perhaps because it’s been years since I’ve seen Shinichiro Watanabe direct an anime, or perhaps it is because of a multitude of factors combined.
I had been touting Sakamichi no Apollon as probably going to be the year’s best even before I saw one episode of it because of its staff, and after the first episode, it seems that I’m not wrong. Although quite unlike Watanabe’s previous two series in that it’s not rooted in action and violence, the characters and the dialogue remain to be sparkling yet minimalistic at the same time, approximating Hemingway’s works. It’s beautiful, in every sense of the word, from its fluid ‘action’ scenes to its character build-up.
It’s so good that to even attempt to summarize it would be to do it a disservice as words cannot, at least for me, express how beautiful it coalesced the characters and the plot together. But if one were to watch only one series this year, I suggest one watch this. I doubt that Watanabe would let up with his excellence, as he had never done so with his two previous masterpieces.
I actually finished Ano Natsu de Matteru weeks ago. Sadly, however, I haven’t been able to log on for quite some time due to issues with my connection. It ended very well, save for the Men in Black hijinks, but it was a nevertheless very well done series. The video of the friends spending their summer together despite their separation with Ichika was honestly tearjerking, and the uncertainty and sadness with Ichika being spirited away from Kai was quite overwhelming.
This was my feeling when I finished Ano Natsu.
I was happy with how it ended, though, and how it subtly showed Ichika’s return. I had no expectations whatsoever with the series, but it was honestly one of the best Winter 2012 had to offer. I honestly doubt it would end up as one of the best of the year, however, especially with the strength of the Spring season. It was a series one could say little about, but it was a great series simply because it did everything in its ability exceptionally well. It was great with its handling of its characters; it was great with evocation and although the plot was barebones the rest were enough to carry the series beautifully.
And yes, it was better than Ano Hana. Any dissenting opinions?
Ever since I was young, I’ve always found myself different from my peers. It’s never been much of a problem because I usually skirt burgeoning fights by being quick on my toes and my head. I was also an excellent student so I wasn’t much of a problem to my professors. Perhaps that’s why I find myself tolerating other people’s idiosyncrasies easier when I matured. I mean, after all, I’m already 24, and I still watch anime.
I haven’t been heartbroken much since I haven’t really tried much, but I realized that my reaction to it was just as offbeat as any of my quirks: instead of wallowing in a temporary amnesia caused by dipsomania, I either write or purchase items from eBay I would never have the gall of purchasing in a more balanced mental state. (And in a more balanced mental state, I guess I wouldn’t write something like this.)
I guess one of my barely healed wounds of the heart have recently reopened a bit. So how do I deal with it? I ponder on bidding for an accessory to that treasured handheld of mine. What does that accessory actually do, one asks?
It’s just a lamp.
That's all it really does. The bulbs light up on top, but that isn't even properly done with the silver leaking at the bottom right corner of the accessory. Yet I wanted that.
It’s a glorified lamp. Contained within the gray plastic case are six small, incandescent light bulbs that turn on when batteries are placed to complete the circuit, and it currently costs 35 USD (which I believe would not go any higher, unless there’s someone even more passionate OR stupid than I am when it comes to stuff like that). It would have been a fair price had the accessory been pristine, but with silver bleeding all over the reflector and with a broken on-off switch, who in their right mind would purchase a small, unpredictable lamp for 35 dollars? (I mean, someone other than me, of course.)
Whenever I ponder about things like these I just sit down and write, and most of the time my reason comes back to me before I do anything stupid. While I indeed would like to have the item, I can’t condone its exorbitant price, so I’ll just wait for it to get significantly cheaper, or just spend my money more wisely. I’m not even thinking of the girl because of these things.
But I’m grateful for being like this. I’m grateful for not running into alcohol or anything destructive whenever I’m down. Even if I did spend a bit for the item, the worst I would be hurting are my savings. Perhaps others would think of this as blatantly stupid (and perhaps it is) but I’m glad I have the privilege of being able to translate what I think into words that roughly convey how I feel. From insignificant reflections such as these to broad comparisons of anime series, being able to write is something one should be truly grateful for.