Monday, December 27, 2010

Thirty Days of Harry Potter: Day 1

I had such fun with the thirty days of anime, I thought I'd do another blog meme. As seen from my previous blog, I adore Harry Potter. So let's get started!

Day 1: Your favorite book

Argh. This is such a tough choice. Okay, I honestly think my favorite was Philosopher's Stone.

It starts everything off, after all. Quickly followed is Prisoner of Azkaban, Deathly Hallows, Half Blood Prince, Chamber of Secrets, Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix.

Why I Generally Hate Book to Film Movies

If there is one thing that is sure to cause me a groan and a head banging, it is an announcement that some film company has acquired the rights to turn a beloved book into film. In general, fandoms rejoice when they hear this. And I will admit, for certain more beloved books of mine, I have fun with fellow fans picking actors and actresses (since I do love movies) for various characters. But in general, it just causes me distress and intestinal discomfort.

Most who know me are aware of my burning hatred for the Harry Potter films. Now don't misunderstand--I adore the books. I'm rereading them and am enjoying them as much as I enjoyed them the first time. Hell, I'm even being a total nerd and tvtroping and reading JKR's FAQ page on her website to get background information. I was in the Harry Potter club in high school (Cheers to you, Tonks! Inside joke between me and a friend who I swear looks like Tonks.) I wrote fanfiction (...still write fanfiction...shut up, we all have our moments of geekiness!) and attended the book release in costume. No judging.

But I freaking hate the films.

I could devote an entire blog post as to why I hate the films, but that's not what this blog is about. I generally hate everyone they cast (with the exceptions of Alan Rickman and those hot ginger twins they cast as Fred and George...) I hate that they leave out crucial plot points and I hate that the directors have little or no respect for the books. The latter is probably why I hate the film franchise the most.

Someone once asked me why I'm so understanding about the Narnia films having differences from the books but am completely anal about the HP films. I have to admit, this caused me some thought. Did I like the Harry Potter book series more than the Narnia book series?, I don't think so, I'd say it's about equal. C.S Lewis is my favorite writer, true, but I don't think that Narnia was his best work (still awesome though!) whereas I'm not sure JKR could top the sheer mad genius that is Harry Potter. Feel free to prove me wrong, Ms. Rowling.

I'd say it's all about the respect. I feel that the directors of the Narnia films have a lot more respect for the books than the HP fim directors do. I feel like the HP directors sort of read the series and went, "Well, this is lovely, let's change shit and do whatever the crap we want, yippee!" Whereas the Narnia directors read the books and went, "This is fairly serious stuff in a really beautiful fantasy world, how can I best portray that in film?" Respect for the original books. For a book to film transition, I think that's absolutely crucial.

For some reason, Hollywood has this weird idea that they can 'improve' a best-selling novel in cinematic form by changing the plot. I don't know why they do this, because it rarely works and it only pisses the fans of the books off. The most immediate example of this is...


I have not met a single PJO book fan that actually liked this film adaptation, and I used the word adaptation in the loosest possible way. There is so much about this film that pisses me

Annabeth being a brunette. And being a weird mixture of Clarisse.

The characters are clearly in high school and around 16 or 17 when the books start out with Percy being 12. This wouldn't be so bad except the ENTIRE PLOT OF THE SERIES REVOLVES AROUND PERCY TURNING SIXTEEN.

Grover being...really...gangsta. That sounds really racist, I'm fine with them making him black, but it was like they did it to make the movie hip or something.

The movie giving away right off the bat that Percy's father is Poseidon.

But honestly, all of this could be ignored. Except for the fact that they CHANGED THE ENTIRE PLOT OF THE MOVIE.

With some weird thing about Persephone's Pearls? What?

Honestly, I survived the first thirty minutes of it and even thought, hey, this isn't so bad, but at the Persephone's pearls bit I just completely lost it.

I wish I could say that this is the only example of Hollywood screwing over a really good book. But it's not. They did it with...

They did it with...

(Admittedly I didn't like the book or the movie, so this isn't really close to my heart--but I have friends who are avid fans of this series and the movie pissed them the eff off.)

They're doing it with Gulliver's Travels (UGH, Jack Black as Gulliver?! Really?!), I'm willing to bet they'll do it with the new Jane Eyre movie that's coming out, THEY WILL ALWAYS FREAKING DO IT.

This is because, in my opinion, Hollywood is arrogant. Don't get me wrong, I love movies, and I will admit more work goes into a movie than it does in a book. But Hollywood is not the first to have original plots, stories, characters, character development, themes, and climax. Books did it first and books continue to do it better. Hollywood constantly has to juggle the technical aspects of telling a story whereas writers just use imagination and depend on their readers to do the same. Because of the work Hollywood has to do, it causes them to think they know what is better for an audience than a writer. That is arrogant and stupid. My point in succinct? I saw Ella Enchanted the movie in the five dollar bargain bin and the book won a Newberry award.

Very rarely is a film better than its book. I can think of a few examples, and these are all based on opinion.

Jurassic Park--I think Michael Crichton is a rubbish writer (may he RIP) because I find his characters pretentious and annoying. His plot ideas, however, are brilliant. The movies gave us memorable characters along with an interesting plot.

How to Train Your Dragon--I think these children books were really kind of dumb. Sorry. But the movie was absolutely delightful.

Gone With the Wind--I like the book too, but I find Vivien Leigh's Scarlett more likable than book Scarlett, though they were both bitches. But movie Scarlett is VIVIEN LEIGH.

Well, there you have it. Maybe someday Hollywood will take a hint and stop messing up beloved books when turning it into film.

But I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 26

Day 26: Your Favorite Harem Anime

Well, I'll admit a deep love of Fruits Basket. But my favorite harem anime is the harem anime that makes fun of harem anime...

I love shojo anime that makes fun of itself, especially its specific sub-genre. This anime is toeing the line of being satire and it's wonderful.

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 25

Day 25: Best Anime Villain

I love complicated, screwed up villains. I think the best one of all time is...

Akito, from Fruits Basket. Both anime version and manga version, though I didn't like the whole 'let's reform Akito and let him/her live happily ever after with Shigeru, yay!' That was dumb. And not just cuz I love Shigeru and think he deserves way better than frigging Akito. Because this character flat out should not reform. He/She should die, disappear, or maybe turn into a statue.

Akito is a creepy-ass villain not because he/she can wave a gun or sword around, but because everything this character does is psychological. Akito was horribly emotionally abusive to Yuki even as children. Akito screwed over Kana and Hatori's relationship. He tortured Rin, also mentally and emotionally. Everything he does was psychological and terrible. I much prefer how the anime ended in regards to Akito. (Manga for everything else, because Kyo and Tohru forever!!! And the manga introduced Rin who is awesome.)

I really loathed how the manga just made everyone suddenly okay with Akito when she (I say she because in the manga at least, Akito was defined as a she. Not so with the anime.) basically said sorry for everything she'd done. I was totally with Rin, who flat out refused to forgive Akito and was incredulous that the rest of the zodiac could.

Bastard. Or bitch. Depending on your medium. :D

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A Comprehensive Review

First of all, you should know that I've been looking forward to the release of Dawn Treader for about two years now. I've been stalking the crew via the web as they sailed around New Zealand, filming. I've kept tabs on who they cast as the new characters. If I lived in New Zealand, I'd probably be the creeper hiding in the tree, staring hungrily at the cast. Now why would I act in such a manner? Is it just because I'm a loyal Narnian?

Well, yes. That and Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Oh snap. Shit just got real.

When they're making a film adaptation of your favorite, you tend to become a super fangirl. And so I did. I have just returned from seeing it today, and I have to say...

Well, let me first say that I was seriously concerned about this movie. I wasn't concerned about it till about two days ago, when I read this article. It about gave me and all my other fellow Inklings a legitimate heart attack. The article warned about huge plot changes, things taken from the next book, The Silver Chair, and commented that the Lewis Estate was unhappy with the changes. To a die-hard Narnia and forever fan of C.S Lewis like me, this gave me feelings of great terror. They were going to ruin my favorite book.

Then I saw it today. Terror averted.

Honestly, I think the article was just trying to scare Narnia fans. Dawn Treader did have some major deviations--mostly I think because in the book, there is no real 'bad guy'. Think about it. LWW had the White Witch, PC had Miraz, SC will have Lady of the Green Kirtle, and LB will have the Ape, the Calormene, and Tash, but DT has no dastardly villain. I don't necessarily believe film always has to have a dastardly villain, but doing a fantasy film without one made the producers nervous so they had to add crap in. Most of the time, the movie kept a great deal with the spirit of the book and mostly the major deviations were expanded upon details C.S Lewis already had.

Although I will admit confusion towards the seven-swords-at-Aslan's-table-to-defeat-the-scary-green-mist thing. What? I guess the green mist was maybe foreshadowing the Lady of the Green Kirtle? But I got nothing for the seven swords bit, I guess the writers were feeling super creative. Well, it generally worked for the film.

First off, let me say that the actor for Eustace Clarence Scrubb, Will Poulter, was absolutely MARVELOUS. They could not have chosen a better Eustace if they tried. Will Poulter had the right amount of humor, whininess, practicality, and humanity that Eustace did and during his dragon scene, I couldn't help but clap. I also adored how they interpreted Reepicheep and Eustace's relationship and made it a mentor/mentee kind of deal, which was also canon to the books.

I also liked how the expanded on Lucy's insecurity of not being beautiful like her sister. Well, Georgie, I think you're adorable, just so you know. In the book, this insecurity and temptation to change her physical appearance was glossed over, in a scene where Lucy very quickly learns her lesson. In the film she does too, but it takes her longer.

The expansion on Dark Island, how they made Dark Island essentially the nemesis (aside from the GREEN MIST OF EVIL) (I should stop making fun of the green mist, my friend Alex pointed out how it could represent a physical manifestation of temptation, which was a recurring theme in the movie) was kind of neat move. The Dark Island scene was very scary in the book, and although it didn't last long and certainly wasn't the main conflict, it left a great impression on you. Lewis almost didn't keep it in the final draft of the story because he was concerned it was too frightening for young readers. So I think their expansion on it was a good thing.

I also liked how they gave Ramandu's Daughter a name, cuz I love you Mr. Lewis, but she should've had a name.

I like how the White Witch still haunts Edmund cuz I don't think you'd ever really get over being under her thumb.

I like Caspian in wet clothes. Smaaaaughdrooolmmmmmm....

I literally had a fangirl squeal at the end when Aunt Alberta called, "Jill Pole is here to see you!" Because it's JILL!!! Only...why is she here to see Eustace? Cuz at the beginning of SC, she sort of hates Eustace...

Those are all the things I liked, so I'll be nitpicky and list the things I didn't really care for too.

1. Where the hell did Caspian's accent go? He had a Spanish one in the previous film, and now he has a British one. Consistency, people. Did Ben Barnes get tired of feigning it? Did they think that his newly added man scruff plus the accent was too much for fangirls?

2. I didn't like how Caspian was added in the final scene where they meet Aslan before the tidal wave thing blocking view of his country. Caspian very much wanted to go to Aslan's country, and Reepicheep and Lucy told him in no uncertain terms that he had a duty here and he could not simply abandon it. Caspian snapped at them and then was pretty much bitched out by Aslan in his cabin. We had none of this scene, which I thought was pretty portent to Caspian's character.

3. I miss Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep. The new guy sounded vaguely like him, but Eddie Izzard made a fabulous Reepicheep. Plus this guy had a different interpretation of Reep, which took a little getting used to.

4. I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole angle of Rhince being a resident of the Lone Islands and trying to find his wife and his daughter stowing away...what? Alex, once again, pointed out how the daughter seemed to be more of a growing point for LUCY than an actual plot point, but I still am not sure how I feel about it.

5. I didn't like that Lord Bern was a prisoner instead of...a rich lord and resident. I understand that it flowed better for the film this way, but my anal must-keep-accurate-to-the-book personality didn't like it.

6. Eustace's undragonification sequence I thought was a tad hurried, seeing as it took place during a battle. That's one of the highlights of the novel. I wish they'd given it more time.

7. I really wish they'd kept the scene where when Lucy makes the invisible visible, Aslan is made visible. Because Lucy says something along the lines of, "Oh Aslan! As if anything I could say would make you visible!" And he says back to her, "Don't you think I obey my own rules?" Aslan is big on obeying his own rules. So I was greatly disappointed that it wasn't there.

Well, that's the whole of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was a lovely movie and I think they did it extremely well. Honestly, I was legitimately shocked that they kept a direct line from Aslan at the end--the line where Aslan tells Lucy that he has another name in her world and that she was brought to Narnia so that she may know him better there. I expected that, for politically correct reasons, to be dropped. But it was there. They kept it. I was shocked and delighted.

Of course, now I understand Liam Neeson's lines about his portrayal of Aslan a little bit better now...

Whatever. The movie was great. Go see it!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 24

Day 24: Favorite anime hero or heroine

I feel like I've used Sango five million times--I should vary it up a little. Hmm....

I guess that's cheating a little.

I don't care. They made it an anime, so therefore I can use it! :D

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 23

Day 23: Anime you think had the best or most intriguing art

This is a toughy, since there's so much anime out there that is absolutely gorgeous. I'm gonna have to go with...

Princess Mononoke

I first saw the raw version in Japanese when I was eight. My family couldn't understand a word of it but at the very least we did see that it was absolutely gorgeous. (Btw I don't recommend seeing a Miyazaki film raw if you don't know Japanese--you will have no idea what the flip is going on.)

But it's Miyazaki, what do you expect?

Runners up for best animation are Tokyo Majin, Vampire Knight, and Samurai Champloo.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 22

Day 22: Favorite Boys love couple or Girls love, if you don't like boy love.


Honestly, I don't really watch that much yaoi. Ok, I'll put a yuri couple that's never explicitly stated but totally hinted at.
Lucia and Sumire, from Venus Versus Virus. I like this anime because you can see the yuri undertones, if you want to interpret it that way, or you can just see a really beautiful and special friendship. Either or.

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 21

Day 21: Best yandere character

Ok, now that I've figured out who this is:

Honestly, this is the only example I can think of off the top of my head, Mimi from Lovely Complex. Boy is she irritating.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 20

Day 20: Favorite Shojo Anime

It's a tie between...

Marmalade Boy and, you probably guessed it...

Lovely Complex.

Lovely Complex is probably easy to guess, since I've sung it's praises for a while now. But many will look at me perplexed and go, "MARMALADE BOY?!"

Because as ridiculousness in anime goes, it's right up there with Pretear.

The reason it's tied between a legit good shojo anime is mainly for nostalgic reasons. Marmalade Boy paved the way for my love of everything anime. Without MB, I wouldn't have discovered Inuyasha, Vampire Knight, Ouran High School Host Club, Tokyo Majin, or any of my favorites. And while it's painfully cheesy and some parts want to make me rip my hair out (Meiko choosing Nachan over Miwa, ARGH) it still manages to make me smile.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 19

Day 19: Mandatory Swimsuit post

I like how Sango is all, 'what the hell did you just put me in?'

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dear Viz, You Suck. Love, Phoenix

First let me say, I've been looking forward to Inuyasha the Final Act for YEARS.

If you're an Inuyasha fan, like I am, you were no doubt disappointed at the half-assed ending on the seventh season. It ended with Kagome and Inuyasha sitting in a tree, looking off into the distance, and feeling hopeful that maybe someday they'll defeat Naraku.

No, I'm not joking.

But that was okay, because the manga was still going on. Eventually, the manga ended, and it had an epic ending. SPOILERS! Basically, Kagome graduated high school, went back to the feudal era, married Inuyasha and lived happily ever after. *blithely ignores feminist voice whining in her head* Miroku and Sango got married too, and had three kids.

THEN we IY fans discovered that they were releasing Inuyasha: The Final Act, which was an additional season wrapping up the entire anime. There was much crying and happiness among within the fandom.

Even better--a month after this was announced, Viz, like a mighty ninja, snatched up the license for this anime and announced that they would be streaming the subtitled anime via hulu. They said nothing about dubbing it, so we awaited with bated breath.

The anime came and went. I laughed, I cried, I SQUEALED like the fangirl I am when Inuyasha and Kagome kissed in the final episode--(which they didn't in the manga...forty plus volumes and not one frigging kiss...) I waited and waited and waited for Viz to announce they were dubbing it.

They were silent.

I tried to be optimistic. "Of course they'll dub it," I assured my brothers. "Why else would they license it if they weren't dubbing it?"

FINALLY I received news. Kelly Sheridan, the VA for Sango, tweeted about how she was recording lines for Inuyasha. HUZZAH!

I could relax, I naively thought. If they got Kelly, then surely they would make sure to get all the rest of the original voice actors to finish this magnificent series up. After all, the Japanese did it.

I was wrong.

I was oh, so wrong.

It has reached my attention today that the voice actors for Kagome and Sesshoumaru will be changed. Moneca Stori and David Kaye will no longer be voicing them.

I feel like crying.

Especially after youtubing their new voice actors (Kira Tozer and Michael Daingerfield).

The voices sound vaguely similar--similar in a way that if I wasn't paying attention and I'd only seen Inuyasha once it'd be all ok.

I could maybe live with replacing Sesshoumaru. Sure, I'd bitch and moan about it, but replacing KAGOME?! Are you people serious?! She was the frigging lead! The story, while called Inuyasha, was about HER adventures! It all takes place through HER EYES, not Inuyasha's!

Moneca did a fabulous job as Kagome. You can't simply replace her, hope no one notices, and go about your day. The fandom will notice, and the fandom will be pissed.

Hi. I'm the fandom.

Moneca hasn't been doing a lot of voicework lately, as far as I can tell, so maybe she opted out. (Pregnancy? Marriage? Wants to spend time with family? Trying to move out of acting all together?)

But David Kaye?

The guy lives for voicework. If he will voice a horse in Barbie and the Three Musketeers, he'll fragging voice Sesshoumaru again. His Sesshoumaru voice was incomparable--sexy, mysterious, deep, dark, and not necessarily evil.

So Viz, after being so faithful to you, so proud of you for ninja-ing the license for Inuyasha, I just want you to know, I now hate you and you suck. After I get the Final Act (which I will, but not for your sake, only for Kelly and Kirby's sake) I will not be watching Viz again. I'm sticking with Funimation, which at least has never disappointed me to this extent.

Screw you, Viz.

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 18

Day 18: Something Moe

I'm not real clear on what moe means (cutesy girl? something fluffy that makes you go awww?) so I gave it my best guess.
So I just got done reading this real douchebag's blog about how he couldn't stand nice anime characters and how polite people pissed him off. He bitched about Belldandy (above) from Ah! My Goddess and Tohru from Fruits Basket. So, in essence, he sounded like kind of a dick, and I'm assuming dicks only like anime about dicks and that's his real problem.

I like Belldandy--she's not my favorite, Urd is. But Belldandy is so sweet and kind and adorable, she makes me go awww everytime she does something.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 17

Day 17: Favorite Tsundere

I am totally not googling what that is because I am an awesome otaku and totally know the terminology for everything.

Please standby.

Ok, got it. I actually have two cuz I love both of them. First one is:

I love Zero Kiryuu, from Vampire Knight. Screw Yuki, the show should've been about him. Generally I'm not into the anime character that angsts all the time, but oh, Zero does it so well! Some of his best scenes involve him being all cranky and annoyed towards Yuki (who I admittedly don't like) but even so, you can totally tell how much he loves her.

Second favorite is...
Kyouichi, from Tokyo Majin. My all-time favorite character in this series, how he acts towards Aoi is very tsundere. He's actually a total jerk towards her. Calls her names, tells her to stay out of the way, etc. Later on he loosens up, but it's clear to see that his nastiness and insistence she stay out of the fights is because he genuinely cares about her.