[Touhou Video] Beyond that Door – What Does it Mean to Grow Up?

I found this video to be touching. Beyond that Door is a song by RD-Sounds based on Alice Margatroid‘s theme songs from the Touhou game Mystic Square. The lyrics and the video tell the story of Alice as a kid, when everyone around her tells her to grow up – however, when none of them can answer her when she asked what it really means. Which is understandable, how does one really explain what it means to grow up? How many people actually know what it means to grow up? Is there really a clear distinction in being an adult? Alice tries to think about it herself, but she couldn’t find the answer. In the end, Shinki (whom many in the Touhou fandom believe to be Alice’s mother, although there is no official word) gives her the key to the door and sets her off on a journey to find the answer for herself.

As a college student on the borderline between a teenager and an adult, this resonates with me a lot. I’ve said many times that I’m not ready to be an adult at all. It’s scary. As for what being an adult means, I agree that in the end we find our own answer and I think I’ve found mine. Being an adult doesn’t mean to stop having fun, or to give up odd hobbies or act a certain way. It means being responsible and self-reliant enough to set goals for yourself and work towards them without imposing too much on others. It means to be able to survive by yourself – you can rely on others sometimes, but not too much – and still being able to be happy with your life. At least, that’s what I think it means. I’m still not an adult yet, far from it. But I know I need to become one pretty soon.

The video itself is drawn and animated in a simple style, which I think is fitting because the message it’s giving is a simple and nearly universal one, yet has a heavy meaning to it. I love the music too. The simple piano notes at the beginning give off a sense of innocence, like a child that still doesn’t know what is out there in the world. The steady beat that comes up and coincides with Alice running gives the feeling of starting an adventure, before the other instruments come into play and the vocals take on a more upbeat style as the wonders of the greater world are discovered. The music feels really grand at the end where Alice leaves, and made me tear up with a mixture of happiness, wonder, awe, and a little hint of sadness.

I really enjoyed this video and song, and I hope you did too.

For those unfamiliar with Touhou, there are two distinct “era”s of the games – the PC-98 era (Touhou 1-5) and the Windows era (Touhou 6 and onwards), and canon isn’t continuous between the two though there are some overlaps. In PC-98 Alice appears as a small child, and the characters you see with her in the beginning are from that era. In the Windows era she appears as a grown woman, and the characters seen after she steps out the door are from this era and are characters she will meet.

How I Learned Hiragana and Katakana in a Few Hours

This quarter I finally bit and taking Japanese 101, despite the 8:30 class time. When we were starting out with the hiragana we had to write them in a workbook, learning a few characters a day. I didn’t remember jackshit about which character is which or what something is supposed to look like – writing the same character over and over isn’t effective at all (at least for me it wasn’t, I have a really bad memory), except ‘ki’ for some reason. Probably because I kept saying kikikikikikikikikikikiki as I wrote each line. A random string of characters would work better.

Which leads me to: songs! About the only things that are regularly translated to romaji are lyrics, since everything else is directly translated to English for the people who don’t know Japanese, and the ones who do know Japanese can read in the original kanji/hiragana/etc. But songs are for singing so you need to know how they’re said, hence the giant surplus of romaji that’s in relatively random (for this purpose) order.

I went ahead and grabbed the lyrics for Sousei no Aquarion in romaji and transcribed them into hiragana.

Update: I used this method when we had to learn katakana, and it worked like a charm just like it did with hiragana. I don’t have trouble distinguishing between them or recalling the right character either. Continue reading

I Scream: Oreki Houtarou in Sekitani Jun’s Footsteps

Hyouka had one of the most interesting mysteries I’ve seen in a while, and the visual direction of the revelations and analysis were beautiful. I really liked how the final result made sense. It’s a compelling story of a Sekitani Jun who took on the burden to lead the student body against the school authorities and was the only one to ‘scream’ out. Because he was the only one to do so, he was the only one that was sacrificed unwillingly and forced to leave the school.

The story is even more compelling when you think about how there’s the protests of OWS and the Arab Spring going on, though the stakes at hand and the sacrifices are far larger. Sekitani is a very mild version of the street vendor who set himself on fire, the sacrifice that sparked the people of the middle east to oppose their regimes. Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day! Mothers in Anime

Apparently it’s mother’s day in the U.S. and some other countries. So mom, if you see this, then I guess Happy Mother’s Day from another country?

A motherly relationship, whether the characters are actually related by blood or not, is one of my favorite types of character relationships – even more so after the conception of the character Aoi in my novel. The relationship is one that I don’t really know how to define, I guess a character that takes care of another, either in raising or with emotional issues? An advice giver? It’s a relationship that just “feels” motherly to me. There aren’t really any constraints. The relationship can “feel” that way to me even if they’re not related by blood, even if the age gap between them isn’t significant, even if the “daughter” character is completely capable of taking care of herself. Continue reading

Sai Mecha 2012 Nominations!

It’s time for Sai Mecha again! What is Sai Mecha, you ask? It’s a tournament where we nominate our favorite mechs and they fight, and they fight, AND THEY FIGHT UNTIL THERE IS ONLY ONE LEFT STANDING! Submit your nominations of 10 mechs by following the instructions in that link! It’s due by tomorrow (April 29), but you only need to choose a few mechs and don’t have to make a whole post like me. Even if you don’t nominate your favorite mechs in time, you can still vote in the polls to advance the robots you love!

These are my AWESOME mecha nominees!

RX-78GPo3D Dendrobium (Gundam 0083 Stardust Memories)

The monster designed for AREA DOMINANCE is composed of two units, the Stamen mobile suit and the Orchis weapons platform. It has a fuckton of missiles, and when it launches all of its weapons its like Danmaku in space. Think Touhou girls have the most firepower? WRONG! Watch this short video of Gundam Evolve 4 featuring the Dendrobium, it’ll be the coolest thing you see all day.

HOW AWESOME WAS THAT!??!?!?!?!?

The Dendrobium is my favorite thing to come out of Gundam. Ever.  NOMINATE AND VOTE FOR IT! Continue reading

[Story] Broken Angel

A (very late, everything I do is late nowadays) writing prompt from 2DT last week, “how the angel drowned my spark“. This time it’s using the characters from my novel again, taking place about half a year before the novel does (though the small part at the end is set during the novel). It’s told from Claribel’s point of view (though I’m not sure I’ll make it canon, not sure the mindset in this story fits with her character) and is related to a previous prompt, The Curse of the Reaper that was Flan’s backstory. 

Again, please read, enjoy, and leave some feedback!

Continue reading

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Balance of Power: Koko’s Peace, and International Politics in a Nutshell

Some people may laugh at Koko’s claim that she’s selling weapons for world peace as just a ridiculous quirk from our favorite psychotic arms dealer, and it does seem counter intuitive.

While Koko’s methods and true intentions are debatable, the reasoning behind the idea isn’t that ridiculous. In international politics there are a variety of paradigms for looking at the world, and each has its own method of bringing peace and stability to the international system. Here’s a brief explanation of Liberalism and Realism, the latter of which Jormungand seems to follow. Continue reading