Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Yep, it is that time of year again, a time full of family and fun. I will see if I can’t do Saiunkoku next week and catch up on Letter Bee: Reverse, but we’ll have to see. In the mean time, enjoy my write-up of my annual Studio Ghibli film which I watch while wrapping presents, and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


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Spirited Away

There are many things to like about this film. First, love the music. It may be my favorite Joe Hisaishi soundtrack yet. Of course, I think that when listening to the soundtrack for Mononoke Hime too . . . The visuals are gorgeous, and not just in execution, though that too. There are little details everywhere to be seen. Few animated films could match it. And then the story! It is a coming of age story for Chihiro. At first she is a bit whiny without any backbone. Along the way she makes mistakes. However, by the end, she is a much braver person and perhaps even a bit wiser (although in all fairness, she did warn her parents not to eat the food^^;) We meet lots of interesting characters along the way, both visually and personality wise. Lin and Haku both seem to have two different sides to their personalities. Rather, I suspect Chihiro brings out a softer side of their personality. Yubaba is very malevolent, but even she has a soft spot. Komaji is gruff on the outside but nice on the inside. No-face is mysterious at first, but even when he starts causing havoc he still has his reasons. I especially loved the little cinder guys. I want my own cinder army! And not only is the animation detailed, so is this world. In short, if you see just one Miyazaki film, this is probably the one to see. There is a reason it won an Oscar and an Academy Award, both for best animated film.

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This week’s episode is: Mother’s decision.

It has been ten days since Perrine’s mother collapsed and she has not really gotten better at all. They are almost out of money so Perrine decides to go out and try to take photographs on her own in the next town after promising the innkeeper to pay him that evening. She does attract a crowd at first, but because she is just a child they don’t think she can take photographs. Poor Perrine, she might have a better case if the photograph she displayed was one she herself had taken. She comes back late and sneaks past the innkeeper. When her mother asks about her day, Perrine lies and says it was better than it was. The next day Perrine goes off again to an even further town. As she leaves, the innkeeper corners her so she gives him the last of the money. It still isn’t enough, but he promises not to talk with her mother. Unfortunately, it starts to rain hard. Perrine never even makes it to her intended destination, and there would have been no business if she had. Perrine’s mother talks with the innkeeper and asks to see the doctor again. The innkeeper says the doctor will want to be paid and the truth comes out. Perrine’s mother sells her husband’s ring for money and the doctor does come. He says she might be better in a month, better being a very relative term here. Perrine’s mother asks about just laying in the wagon, but the doctor thinks even that would be too strenuous. When Perrine comes back in despair, her mother explains they are leaving in the morning. Instead of working, they will use the money from the sale of the ring to go as fast as they can to Grandfather’s home. Indeed, they do set out the next day. I don’t think Perrine realizes how much at risk this puts her mother . . .

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This week’s episode is: The Vacance Date of a Lady.

In this episode, Chocolate and Vanilla get invited to go with the Pierre fan club to the beach for their vacation, much to the annoyance of most of the club with the exception of Yuriko. Yeah, Chocolate agreed to this to try and get Pierre’s heart and to find out his connection if any to Glace. The two familiars manage to tag along too. The first day, the two are ignored by children by the others. Vanilla gets in too far in the ocean and Pierre rescues her. She ends up over extending herself and getting a headache. The fortune book also somehow tagged along, so Chocolate asks it to show her how to get Pierre’s heart. The book shows a card about transformation. In the magical world mail order catalog, Chocolate spots some mules that will turn her older. At first, Chocolate has a lot of fun with this, ignoring some guys with orange hearts and getting Pierre to go out with her. However, she quickly gets in over her head. As she tells Vanilla later, Chocolate discovers that you can change your appearance but you still have our own heart, which in Chocolate’s case is the heart of a child. After some mayhem, the shoes end up breaking (just as well since Chocolate doesn’t know how to handle heels yet). She ends up being carried back by Pierre. Vanilla is worried later, though, when she sees that Chocolate has an orange heart . . . and Yuriko has a black one . . .

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Perrine #15

This week’s episode is: France! France!

Our travelers stop for some bread. While her mother is inside, Perrine, the donkey, and Barron are bullied by a bunch of boys. Perrine wishes her foot was well already, but perhaps that still would not be the best solution. They stop for lunch. It seems the perfect country, but as Perrine’s mother reminds her it is very cold in the Alps in winter. They should cross into France the next day. Perrine can’t contain her excitement. They stop in a town to take pictures. A man riding a bicycle looses control of his contraption and runs into the wagon. Fortunately, Perrine’s mother saves the camera. Unfortunately, a constable comes by and says they can’t work there without a license. He tells our travelers to move on. They stop later to rest and for some water. The Barron gets scared by some cows. Well, when Perrine and the donkey get crowded out by the cows around the watering trough, they get scared too, though afterwards Perrine thinks it is funny. Perrine is staring to finally walk more. Her mother starts having pain in her head, but brushes it off. The two end up traveling after dark, having bypassed Geneva. They end up being chased by wolves. They escape but have no idea where they are. The next day, Perrine discovers they are in France! That is when her mother collapses . . .

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Yay! My computer is now much happier, and with one or two minor exceptions it is where I want it to be!

This week’s episode is: Chocola lost her Qualifications as the Queen Candidate!?

Vanilla gets a present of candy from her mother. Cinnamon, Chocolate’s mother, gets mentioned in the conversation. It seems Blanca knew Cinnamon, but she has nothing complimentary to say about her. Chocolate really wants to know more about her mother so she goes to Robin’s room. Robin isn’t there, but his talking mirror is. Chocolate tricks the mirror into telling her how to get back to the magical world – through the dark side of the moon. Once back in the magical world, Chocolate runs into her two friends Soul and Woo. Since getting to Queen Candy who was a queen candidate with Cinnamon doesn’t seem possible, they decide to look at her old school records. Woo and Soul get into a fight and they crash through the roof and are caught. Woo and Soul are one thing, but because Chocolate returned to the Magical world without permission there is going to be a hearing and she will probably be disqualified. Chocolate’s grandfather is not pleased. Neither is Robin who goes to defend Chocolate. He tells Vanilla to stay behind. In the end there seems to be no defense, but then Vanilla shows up. She feels bad about what Blanca said about Cinnamon, but more than that she doesn’t want to be a queen candidate without Vanilla. In the end, the two are disqualified but then reinstated. Yes they broke the rules, but the way the stood up for each other is just what a queen should do. Queen Candy says that what Blanca said about Cinnamon is incorrect and she gives Chocolate Cinnamon’s journal. On the way out, Chocolate wants to check out a portrait. It is of Glace, the only male of the seven founders of the magical world. And Pierre is the spitting image of him . . .

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First, sorry I have been away longer than intended. This is not being written on my computer. My computer has not been happy so I am re-imaging it now. Hopefully that will take care of the problem and we will be back to a “normal” schedule next week, knock on wood.

In the meantime, here is a review of the new Card Captor Sakura omnibus by Dark Horse.

First of all, let’s talk about the size. We are talking about three volumes in one here. And this book isn’t just larger depth wise. It is also taller and wider than a normal manga is. We are treated not just with a beautiful colored cover, but there are numerous colored pages inside, including a whole bunch at the very end as a bonus! And lets talk about the pages themselves. The colored pages are on photo-quality paper. The non-colored pages are of a high quality and a pristine white. The Japanese sound effects and asides are still included but they all include English translations now. As for the story itself, it is very well done – still recognizable as the Card Captor Sakura we know and love. It is at least as nice a translation (not being able to actually translate it myself) to read as the second translation done by Tokyopop, maybe even better. (I am still on the first volume^^;) In short, if you haven’t gotten Card Captor Sakura yet, now is the time to do so since Dark Horse has now provided what may well be the definitive edition. And even if you do have Card Captor Sakura already, you will be very tempted by this gorgeous version.

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