Favourite Eurovision Songs of All Time.

Okay so this is ridiculously hard to do but Eurovision is on, next week!  So I wanted to post something up before hand because hey! for those that were with me last year, you’ll know just how big a Eurovision fan I am.  And really, I just can never get enough.  But making a list of all my favourite Eurovision Songs…well this is incredibly hard.  What’s harder will be numbering them.  So I decided the numbers are just marking the order in which my favourites came into my head, as opposed to what I think they should rank.  Also, because there are so many songs, I will probably have forgotten some, so be on watch for follow up posts sticking out here and there hehe.

 

1) Wild dances by Ruslana

Ugh my all time favourite and one of the first winners of Eurovision that I actually remember.  I think there’s no disputing it.  This is my favourite performance.

 

2) Fairytale by Alexander Rybak

Because I just love the sound of that violin and well…that smile.

 

3) Euphoria by Loreen

I liked her vocals…and that dance…loved it!

 

4) Randajad by Urban Symphony

Definitely one of my all time favourites even though I don’t understand a word, I just love it.

 

5) We Can Be the Same by MaNga

Omg…this is my favourite performance by Turkey, not just because it falls into my favourite category of  music or because I think the lead singer is cute, but because I love the lyrics.

 

6) Dum Tek Tek by Hadise

I always love Turkey’s performances, do I have to say anything else?

 

7) Drip Drop by Safura

Lyrics, voice, and I loved the performance overall.  To be honest, I wish Azerbaijan had won with this song instead of the other one.  I don’t know, I just really liked this one.

 

8) Apricot Stone by Eva Rivas

How can I forget?  I love this!  It’s not your ordinary pop song, with plenty of symbolism everywhere.

 

9) Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi

I think this speaks for itself.

 

10) My Number One by Elena Paparizou

I don’t really love the vocals in this, but the song is pretty catchy

 

11) Secret Combination by Kalomira

I liked this because it got stuck in my head and drove me crazy.

 

12) Satellite by Lena

Simple song, simple performance, quirky.

 

13) Always by Aysel and Arash

Always on my mind…after the Eurovision was over that year!

 

14) Love in Rewind by Dino Merlin

Omg…I love this one.  I just love the rhythm and the tune and well everything about the song

 

15) Lipstick by Jedward

One of the more interesting song performances of 2011, wasn’t my favourite, but I had it up there to be in the top ten

 

16) Waterline by Jedward

I actually like this song.  More than the Lipstick one, even though I like both.

 

17) La La Love by Ivi Adamou

I just love the original video clip for this.  And well, I got sucked into the story of the song.

 

18) One More Day by Eldrine

Not only does this fall into my favourite genre again, I think she has a great voice!

 

19) Feed Me Your Love by Margaret Berger

I loved this!!  I wish she won (even though I did like the winner as well), but I really loved her performance.And I can’t believe I only remembered it now,  it should be near the top (if I was doing this in order of my top favourites).

 

20) It’s My Life by Cezar

One of the whackier ones from last year with a song that totally grew on me since.

 

I definitely don’t think I’ve covered all my favourite songs from Eurovision, but I’ll leave it at 20 for now!!  EVERYONE get ready to party, Eurovision is coming ~!!!

 

Ghost Hunt. Shiho Inada – Fuyumi Ono.


555430Ghost Hunt, Volume 1
by Shiho Inada

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great a great, gripping thriller to read. I thought it definitely ended way too soon, and if all thrillers were as intense as this one, I would no doubt read those too!

The Plot
PARTNERS IN FEAR

The decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try to tear it down, “accidents” start to happen–people get hurt, sometimes even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that the creepy old high school is haunted–possibly by ghosts from the Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits.

No ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who’s been hired to investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to solve this mystery. . . .

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English School Wars. Tomo Matsumoto.


9587790English School Wars vol. 01
by Tomo Matsumoto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

jkhjkasfhuasdsdawehuehi….

Tomo Matsumoto knows how to screw with my head. Granted, this is a very excellent manga, it still screwed with my head. I’ve mentioned it before, right? When I read this mangaka’s works it feels more like a slideshow images that my brains somehow translates into words, rather than reading the words on the page. But this one, sigh, again, screwed with my head.

The Plot
Arisu hates English but her mom forces her to enter an English Conversational Class because Arisu plans to go to New York for her dad. Not to mention, she also hates dealing with foreigners; but now, she needs to attend English classes with Foreign teachers. She had an unsual encounter with Ish, her hot glasses-wearing English teacher, at her favorite 100 yen store which left the both of them a first bad impression with each other. Will there be a room for some kind of development… both for her hate in English… and her teacher?

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Keishichou Tokuhanka 007. Eiri Kaji.


11874662警視庁特犯課007 [Keishichou Tokuhanka 007], Volume 1
by Eiri Kaji

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really really really really really like this manga. It’s got a strong romance plot that keeps you wanting more, but also, equally as strong is the mysteries that Fuyuki is helping with!

The Plot
The “Special crime investigation department 007? includes the most capable and extraordinary investigators and Fuyuki, who also becomes one of its members, is very capable, to. And she is paired with Kuze, a cool and very bishonen detective. Their combination proves to be the most dangerous one the police headquarters had ever seen!

The plot is undoubtedly worth reading. It’s like any police investigation manga, and both Fuyuki and Kuze are partners. Throughout the series, they solve a number of crimes, and both Kuze and Fuyuki get to showcase their awesomeness. Intertwined are the stories behind Kuze and Fuyuki, which are revealed bit by bit as they get to know each other better.

The Characters
Fuyuki> I love Fuyuki! She’s a dainty character, yet she’s also incredibly strong. She has special ESP and PK (telekinesis) powers and though she doesn’t have much control over them, throughout the series, she uses them to help solve crimes, and is able to control them to her surprise. What’s more, I like that she is compatible with Kuze (even if she is 9 years younger), she’s a bit bratty, but a lot of the time, she’s very mature too. She’s the clever kind of protagonist, also headstrong, but not as bad as the protagonist from Library Wars: Love & War 1. She’s pretty as well, not that she notices, and which I find rare in a lot of shojo manga, since most of the protagonists feel that they’re too plain, too short, or just too-not-good-enough, which after awhile, gets really annoying. But Fuyuki is not like that. In fact, I really like her character. She’s great! Considering that she constantly runs into trouble while working with the police force, but she knows that Kuze will come for her, as well as the fact that she’s capable of handling herself in most situations. What’s more, I’m curious about her character, since there has been little revealed about her character in comparison to Kuze’s. I reckon later on, there might be several chapters that’ll reveal more about Fuyuki’s background rather than just the bits and pieces that I’ve seen so far. I get that there’s more to her background than what I’ve seen so far, and I’m curious!

Kuze> I love Kuze too! And it’s NOT a fangirl crush. I love Kuze’s compatibility with Fuyuki. He’s a hard person, who rarely shows emotion because of his past, and because well, it’s a bother. He tends to sleep alot after not sleeping for several days, and every time Fuyuki goes looking for him, he manages to grab her and put her in a compromising position at the worst time (usually when the rest of the team bursts in, but he never intends anything beyond stopping her from being annoying). Kuze also is very gentle with Fuyuki, and while he’s not rude to everyone else, it’s more like he skips all things polite and just gets straight to the point, which generally leaves people a little shocked and uneasy. I like Kuze because he’s got a little more stuffing that 80% of the male love interests in shojo manga.

Kuze & Fuyuki> Where I’m up to, they’re still not together yet. I cannot wait until they get together, because there is just so much chemistry between them. From the beginning to that point, Kuze and Fuyuki have (view spoiler) and are very close. They do argue, but not that much, rather, it’s Fuyuki doing something impulsive, and Kuze chasing her, then making sure she gets out safe, and then tending to her. He does scold her, but like an older brother to a younger sister. And I like that their relationship is one of those where both parties clearly like each other, and at some degree the guy has shown some possession over the girl, and cause the girl like him, lets him, but neither have actually admitted their feelings for the other yet, or at least they haven’t passed the stage of being something beyond friends/partners.

Supporting characters> It’s hard to say much, since the recurring characters are those on the team (but compared to Kuze and Fuyuki, their roles are significantly minor) and Kuze’s family. Both parties of people show up, but at the same time (where I’m up to) haven’t played as big a role as the two main protagonist.

The Setting
Japan.

Writing/Artwokr
Good writing, but a bit plain. It’s the action, I feel, that’s the real draw here.
Artwork. It’s not terrible, and I’m probably more leaning towards pretty drawing, since it’s definitely pleasant to look at.

Overall
I really want to finish this manga, but since I’m reading online this time, there are only 19 chapters up. I’m dying to finish it, I really love Fuyuki&Kuze. I love the mysteries, and really, I want to know more about Fuyuki, there’s a mystery around her character.

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Haou Airen. Mayu Shinjo.


2021858覇王 • 愛人 1
by Mayu Shinjo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first words to this is: Don’t read this unless you’re prepared not only for mature content, but brutal and painful experiences for both female and male protagonists. This is the first manga about mafia where for once there isn’t a flowery cover or some pretence of morality. This is bloody, gory, heartless. It is everything a mafia story is supposed to be about, and half the time I felt really uncomfortable reading it. But it’s realistic, and of all of Shinjo Mayu‘s work I think it’s the most tragic. Kaikan Phrase, Vol. 1 and Love Celeb 1were kittens compared to this ferocious tiger. If you want something sweet and sexy, read Love Celeb. If you want something a little more hardcore, a little sexier, a little more dramatic, read Kaikan Phrase. But if you want something painful, almost bloody awful (in the experiences that the characters good through, and by awful I mean dramatic and cruel) then read this.

Plot
I thought I should discuss this section first since it’s the most important thing. Haou Airen is another perfect manga by Mayu Shinjo. Yes it is painful and uncomfortable a lot of the time. It’s also ruthless and uncensored. Hakuron is the leading Mafia boss in Hong Kong, Kurumi is an innocent girl who just happened to save Hakuron’s life when she bumps into him. They fall in love with each other, and to begin, they are going along great with each other. Hakuron is the perfect guy to Kurumi, gently, kind, just like she expected, but he’s protecting her. She knows nothing about his life and how he is a mafia. And because of that when Hakuron’s fiance comes into play, things change quickly, people get hurt, killed and murdered and everyone else knows what’s happening, including Hakuron. Only Kurumi is still naive, and thus the conflict starts. How do these two deal, it’s only a matter of time before Hakuron breaks her, even if he loves her, and that’s what he doesn’t want.

The Characters
Kurumi is a really sweet, endearing yet naive girl. She’s easily tricked, easily fooled. She’s too kind-hearted which is why she’s tricked in the beginning and therefore creates the conflicts that lasts a few volumes. I guess her good points are that she is kind-hearted, naive, completely pure as well as honest to her feelings and herself. Her negative points in my opinion are well, she is a little weak to be in that position, to be in love with Hakuron. Yet, at the same time, a good compliment. I really hate that she believed Hakuron’s fiance over Hakuron. It was so naive. But then again, without it, I guess there’d be no plot would there?
Hakuron is the smexiest most dangerous male protag I’ve encountered yet in Mayu Shinjo’s mangas. I liked Gin from Love Celeb because he was the kind of character that was conscious of his smexiness and who was also boyishly childish (and a little wolfish). Sakuya in Kaikan Phrase was hot in the musician kind of way. He puts Aine above everything else which makes him smexy. But Hakuron, Hakuron is dangerous. He’s the leader of an extremely powerful mafia group and he’s known to be colder than ice. Yet he’s in love with Kurumi. To only Kurumi, he’s kind and gently, and he doesn’t want to spoil her, until events take place and really, I don’t want to go into details.
But both characters are well formed, delectably defined and unique. They have power, fear, sadness, happiness, wants, needs, desires. Shinjo’s characters always feel realistic to me. I never feel that I’m reading about some airhead who can’t decide between her old love and her new love, and I never feel like I’m being pressured to accept their reasoning. I understand and feel attached. That’s why I love Shinjo’s characters. They don’t feel fake, except how sometimes they are a bit stupid. But in the grand scheme of things, as a whole, those little moments make up the big moments.

Setting
In Hong Kong, China this time, rather than a Japanese location, something which I thought was interesting even though they are still speaking Japanese, lol

Writing And Artwork
I think Shinjo’s works have always been flawless. I’ve never really had any objections with them since the only times I ever feel annoyed/angry/uncomfortable is when something brutal happens. Like Rape or something. Rape is pretty big in a couple of her mangas, which is why I say DON”T READ THIS UNLESS YOU”RE PREPARED. I also want to say, I abhor rape and do not approve to it at all.  But sometimes, there’s that little question of the fine line between depicting reality or pushing it.  I think Shinjo pushes this boundary, and by far this manga and it’s non-con scenes is the most unbearable manga I have read by Shinjo.  If I put this aside however, the writing pretty much 5/5 stars.
As for Artwork. Since this is a book site, I don’t really think artwork matters much, shouldn’t this be about reading? And the experience of reading? Well if you want to know Shinjo’s artwork has always been the easy to handle type, goodlooking and pretty. Though the guys always look like the ideal guy, tall broad shouldered with smexy long hair that almost dangles in his eyes. The females always look small, slender and cute. Generally their chests are a reasonable size too. But meh, for me if the story is good, I can deal with the artwork. If the artwork is irritating than the story really good from the get go. But Haou Airen is just fantastic as always (the artwork I mean).

Overall
I give this four stars. Just like the other Shinjo mangas, because it is good, but it’s also dramatic. I love her romances, and this one, I like as well. The end I can’t tell you, it will ruin it, but you have to be prepared. Don’t read this lightly, it’s not a happy manga, even if there are happy moments. This is the mafia we’re talking about. Shinjo is so far the only mangaka (that I’ve read) that could be so brutally honest about such an aspect of life. This is no simple romance. I think you can almost think about it as a story about two people finding the strength to be stronger.
Also rather than this focussing on the female protag, I’d rather like to think of this as Hakuron’s story rather than Kurumi’s.

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Gold. Kazuko Fujita.


Gold Vol. 1Gold Vol. 1
by Kazuko Fujita

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Harlequin romance. I was bored and I wanted something dramatic…and I ended up picking this up. I was surprised when I saw the manga cover and read western names, but when I started reading it, I guess I ended up getting sucked into it. I have to admit, this is a very good, if but a VERY dramatic series. It makes me want to read the original novel. Oh, and I love this manga artist’s drawings, I think the art is very attractive and beautiful.

The Plot
Bronte is running away from a failed wedding ceremony in the rain when she finds a cabin for shelter, occupied by a blood-soaked man with Gold eyes, who claims he just killed a man. His name is Mars West, and on impulse he kisses her, just as the police come to drag him away.

Five years later Bronte comes to New York to see Mars, who spent three years in prison for the murder it turns out he didn’t commit. Then things get strange…

This is a soap opera of the highest order, with machinations and manipulations that only the very rich could get away with…

Based on Ann Major‘s novel, “Secret Child”.
This premise doesn’t say much. It’s important that it’s noted that Mars West’s wife Chantal plays as big a role as Bronte and Mars. Especially since she has gone missing for five years, and the reason why the police were after Mars in the first place.

I guess my favourite part in the entire series is when Bronte finally gets rid of Chantal as the model “Mischief Jones” since both Bronte and Chantal look exactly the same (due to a plot development in the first volume which I won’t say). When that happens, everything unravels for Chantal, but brightens a bit for Bronte, who becomes the official new “Mischief Jones” model.

The Characters
Bronte annoyed me at first, not when she meets Mars, but when she first has her plastic surgery. But as I read her character, I really got more and more the need to follow her character and to agree that what she was doing was right. Her interactions with Mars though are both sweet and spicy. Especially at the start when he doesn’t believe that she is the real Bronte and not his wife Chantal.
Chantal is pretty twisted throughout most of the series and I don’t like her one bit, not for what she does to Bronte (despite saving her) and not for what she does to Mars (even though Mars hates and has used her worse). But her ending is not so bad, I just felt that Bronte, with throwing herself at everyone to save them felt a little bit repetitive, especially by the time it came to the final confrontation between Chantal, Mars and Bronte.
Mars. Stubborn, smexy and rich, is the ultimate Harlequin romance love interest. And he’s just as complex and dramatic as all others, with his own reasons for doing things the way he does and choosing things to happen they happen. Unfortunately it’s only when it’s too late does he realise that between his two great loves, there was really only one main choice. I guess this is what I hate about romances, the conflict when it is clear which decision was the one that should have been made. But I guess without that conflict there would have been no story. Sigh. Well, it worked out for the best.
The supporting cast, all of them were likeable and hate-able, even Mars’s brother. His decision to divorce was surprising. But not quite when it’s clear why.

Setting
The US I think?

Writing/Artwork
I’ve come to really like the artwork by this mangaka. I think it’s very pretty.
Writing, just the same as any well written manga. Though towards the end, I think Bronte forgives too many people and plays the role of saint too much, thinking words will save the day…it kind of got annoying.

Overall
I think this manga is definitely worth reading. For a Harlequin manga it’s not all completely stupid, and relatively enjoyable, if a bit dramatic (this might just be an understatement). I’m not sure what the original story is like, but this is pretty good as a read for those after a bit of drama. Makes me want to read the original story!

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List of Harlequin Romance Manga

Library Wars: Love & War. Kiiro Yumi.


Library Wars: Love & War 1 (Library Wars: Love & War, #1)Library Wars: Love & War 1
by Kiiro Yumi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great, funny, and it’s probably the first manga where the guy is slightly shorter than the girl! And I’m not annoyed by it!!!

The Plot
In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves–the Library Forces!

Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!
Hence this premise = lots of action, one hardcore, sometimes stupid (but not annoying stupid) female protag, a couple of hot interesting team mates and romanceeeeeeee! Wheeee loved it!!!

The Characters
Iku Kasahara> omg I love her!! She’s kickass. She’s funny-stupid (her priorities are always in the wrong order). She’s honest. She’s loud. She’s got a good heart. And she knows her stuff (eventually. If she knows she has to learn more, then she would go and learn more, even at the risk of pimples – don’t ask).

Atsushi Dojo> the love interest. Next to Iku, he is actually five centimetres shorter (he’s 165cm and Iku is 170cm) so he’s always at the butt of her jokes. Well, as much as a junior officer can say to a senior officer. Dojo is a pretty interesting character, he works well with Iku and I love how their characters contrast. Their sexual tension is like way up there (so far I can’t even see it anymore) yet, there’s nothing more than hugs and comforting touches. So I totally want to keep reading to the moment they get together…anyway. Dojo is gruff and actually the person Iku looks up to, but she doesn’t recognise him (read it and understand. I’m not going to tell you what that plot is all about), so it irks him a bit. He works Iku to the bone, yells at her a lot, but generally praises her when she does good. His character is not like those cold cool types that girls fall in love with because, well, they’re cool. No, Dojo is cool in the sense, that he can be an ass, but he also has a sense of humour and is a nice guy, generally, and basically, actually has a good personality (compared to the cool guys with a bad personality).

Supporting cast> love every single one of them and their stories. I love their interaactions, especially when it comes to Iku and I especially love it when one of them asks Iku out, but not because he likes her, but because he was told to “get along” with her. Haha that was hilarious, especially her reaction after!

Setting
Near, futuristic dystopia society where library books are at stake, as well as the ability to read anything uncensored.

Writing/Artwork
Love it, it’s good and humourous, engaging, I feel interested.
Artwork: There were actually two copies of this volume-same author, but different artists, I actually prefer this one, I think it’s more comfortable? Anyway, the other one wasn’t bad either. So good artwork!

Overall
Awesome manga! Love it, must be read.

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How I Spend Me-Time (TAG!)

SO Sophie over at Young, Wild and Writing has started this new blog post called TAG! and it’s all about what you do and how you spend your ‘me-time’ which I think sounds pretty cool.  After all, I’ve only recently finished my exams – albeit it was only one exam (but it was at the end of the exam period) – I’ve suddenly got so much to catch up on which I missed out doing while I was at uni.

The TAG! topic is “Me-time” according to Sophie’s post, so what do I do in my me time?

2013-06-30 14.22.30

My little Book of Musings which I use to write random things

1- Writing – Writing for me is a me-time thing to do.  I usually pick up a lot of inspiration wherever I go and for as long as I can remember, for me, it’s all about my Book of Musings and the possibility of either writing another short story/poem or building up another imaginary fantasy world to chase after my dream career.  It really is a relief that I can use words to express things, especially when there was a time when I felt I couldn’t express myself at all.

2- Reading – I am a serial reader.  I can’t help it, I read too much.  Seriously, I put books on hold at the library and then I put more books on hold, until I have too many books on hold and I can barely carry then out of the library.  Haha, it’s a good thing the borrowing period if four weeks, but still, there are times, that my crazy holding-of-omg-the-new-release-books spree becomes a pile of books that even I can’t finish in four weeks.  During the uni semester though, I miss out on reading a lot because I spend so much time reading academic papers which more often than not, are kinda boring (no offence!).

2013-06-30 14.23.14

Sketch books! I think the blue one is number 11

3- Drawing – I love drawing, it’s one of my favourite things to do.  Unfortunately, unlike writing I have a much harder time gathering inspiration.  I also think I have a tendency to be unable to picture how things fit together, so I take twice as long sketching than inking.  You know I was once told that people who are good at maths are also good at art.  I’m fairly good at maths, so I guess I’m fairly good at art? Well Whatever it is, I really enjoy drawing, good or not, I do it in my me-time.  I’m not that great, but feel free to check out some of it here.

4- Pondering the English Language – Okay cut me a break…haha, so since I decided to major in English as an International Language, I’ve become more aware of the issues that we discuss in class, and alot of the time, I watch something and then I question it.  It sounds like a totally nerdy thing to do, but I really do love looking at the current state of the English language and how it’s developed around the word, I just think its fascinating!

5- Manga – I love reading manga, almost otaku level (I actually prefer it over anime).  So this a total me-time thing.  The idea of spending a good few hours doing nothing but reading manga whether it’s online or in paperback form.

Instruction for Tag:

Bloggers tagged in this post are not being obliged to do a similar post.  After all this is just for fun so if you feel like doing it, feel free and if not, then don’t.  No harm done.  If you are saying yes to this, all you have to do is make a similar post presenting your list in any possible way.  It is up to you for as long as it shows how you spend me-time.  Be it through pictures, poetry, a narrative, haiku, etc.  As you finish, it is also suggested that you tag another five bloggers to your post so the fun will spread and who knows, a little self-reflection may go a long way.

I hope fellow tagged bloggers that you might join in on the fun as well :)!

As for me, here are my tagged bloggers:

1) www.stephrogers.com

2) www.walkingwiththealligators.wordpress.com

3) www.bokunosekai.wordpress.com/

4) www.peacelovegreatcountrymusic.com/

5) www.theelusivescribe.wordpress.com/

Random Music Moment #91

What to say?  What to say?  Guess after hearing MaNga at Eurovision 2010, I did get interested in knowing what other songs they’d released.  And well, found this one!  I think the dancing pretty sharp in this, and I do like the song.

The lyrics are…interesting…

You’ve fallen right out of the sky
I could swear you’re a natural high
Volcanoes erupting inside…
When I see the sparkle in your eyes
But you don’t even realize…
Cause you’ve been hurt so many times
They play with your heart, told you lies
Thes were wrong all along, you were right.
Lyrics from eLyrics.net

 

And well I like it, so enjoy?! Today’s RMM is Fly To Stay Alive by maNga

Random Music Moment #45

Another favourite for the Eurovision-is-around-the-corner RMM posts!  This one was from Turkey.  I actually saw clippings of this performance in the MX one the Friday, I think I screamed especially when I saw the extent of the act.  Hello is that a grinder?  Or whatever that sparkling piece of machinery is called?  It’s awesome, literally, nothing can beat it.  And then we have the song.  I love it’s title, and the lyrics, well they certainly did catch my attention haha.

I can see it in your eyes
It doesn’t count as a surprise
I see you dancing like a star
No matter how different we are

For all this time I’ve been loving you
Don’t even know your name

For just one night, we could be the same
No matter what they say

And I feel I’m turning the page
And I feel the world is a stage
Lyrics from HERE

Yep, I liked the lyrics.  And the song.  And the metal grinder.  And then well, let’s go back to the song haha.  Turkey is always one of my favourites in the competition, and it sucks that they’re not entering this year! I don’t know why yet, but I have a feeling it’s either money-wise or politcal-wise.  So that’s a bummer!

Anyway I still have this —> Today’s Random Music Moment is We Could Be The Same By maNga

Fruits basket, Volume 23

Fruits basket, Volume 23Fruits basket, Volume 23 by Natsuki Takaya

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I began this series on a whim because I really want to make a habit of reading manga. I love manga and I draw it, so by golly god I must read it too, just like with YA. But since it’s much easier to read it online then locate all the volumes in various libraries, I find I always lack the time to read them. Which is seriously a pain in the ass. Last year I began my manga reading craze (after going keeping up with Naruto, beginning Bleach and Negima), which began with Ouran High School Host Club (Which is wicked awesome, hilariously funny and just sweet) and Death Note (still have to finish that), I had to stop for just a few months. But lately I got back into the craze again with Avatar the Legend of Korra (which technically isn’t a manga because it’s not of asian origin) and then I decided to pick up Fruits Basket. I began it out of curiosity; it was an interesting concept, the zodiacs.

I liked how it began too, especially the last few pages where Tohru accidentally turns Shigure, Yuki and Kyo into their respective zodiac animals by accident. That was funny. But I guess I didn’t really get interested until I began to understand Kyo’s character, and through his, I began to understand Tohru’s. After that I had to finish the 136 chapters. I had to know what happened to these cursed zodiacs.

In the end, I could not peel my eyes away. The plot was planned so well, the characters developed and intertwined beautifully, but best of all, I think my favourite story of all was the story about the hat Tohru treasured. I think that was the sweetest of them all.

For anyone getting into manga (i think the genre is shoujen), this is a good one to begin with. Really sweet, really heart-wrenching, and lovely overall.

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One Piece vol 64!

One Piece 64One Piece 64 by Eiichiro Oda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve always loved One Piece, it has always been up there on my favourites list, and for the last nine weeks (since with so many interruptions, it took me a lot longer than predicted to finally finish up to this volume) this has been my best friend, my company. I love One Piece so much, I can’t believe that it can have as much drama as a Shojo without being a Shojo manga. I love it. One Piece is the ultimate boy’s manga, but also, the ultimate for a girl. It is actiony, hot and dramatic. Monkey D. Luffy is the kind of hero whose not really a hero at all.
Since I’m up to date now, all I can say is this, I am having One Piece withdrawal. And if that’s the case, then on my meter of ‘the best manga ever’ this has already exceeded the ‘best ever’ mark. I can totally understand why this is the world’s best manga. T.T I am crying. Seriously, I haven’t been this moved by a manga since I read Ouran High School Host Club, Naruto, Fruits Basket, Nononono, Skip Beat! and Tokyo Crazy Paradise.

I think I also another reason why I like this is probably because it’s shonen and does not focus on romance (which I think is great because I’ve been reading so many Shojo which is aimed at girls and thus has a greater focus on romance). I also liked that because it doesn’t focus on romance, the characters have the ‘potential’ to be romantic for readers – especially if it’s a girl. And since the characters themselves don’t have romantic inclinations, readers have the chance to imagine themselves being a part of this world and maybe creating a story for themselves. At first I just loved the adventure and the comedy and the characters. It was fun and hilarious and at times very serious – I love the mangaka’s way of telling each of the character’s background story. Very emotive. I’d also like to point out while I remember, that though we hear a little about Luffy’s past in the beginning, like about the Strawhat, you don’t actually find out more until it comes to Ace, which I thought was clever, since I never actually realised how little I knew about this idiotic yet brave and caring and moral (nearly, and not quite, since he is a pirate, maybe “just” is a better word?) until we’re told more, and that’s after we learn the histories of all the other crew members. I thought that was just great…sigh, Lol, too great. Sigh, did I mention I was having One Piece withdrawal???

Anyway, this is great, just great, and I oh yeah, I was reading about One Piece on Wikipedia, and learnt that maybe towards the end he’ll have just a tiny bit of romance for Luffy, I’m kind of ecstatic about it – since all great heros deserve someone to love, but at the same time, I don’t mind if there isn’t. The story is great. I just can’t wait to know what happens with One Piece, the ‘dangerous weapon’ and I wonder what will happen with the World Government. So far it seems so corrupt, and there are so many hints that the WG is not actually justice, but the excuse of justice created. I’m also curious about the lost history that Robin is looking into.

Well I’m just dying to know aren’t I, hehe, well, on a final note on this review that is not really like a review, but Robin and Franky – they had such a close intimate moment (even by shonen standards) that I can’t help but think they’d be pretty cool together, even if Franky is a cyborg and (at this current volume) four times her size Lol. But still, this, Naruto and Bleach are the only mangas I’m willing to read without romance, it’s a nice change (Oh god, nice change sounds sooooo oldlady-like LOL).

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Mayu Shinjo.

Mayu Shinjo is amazing Lol.  Even though her mangas are mainly smutty, they’re also about love and romance, albeit a little overly dramatic and at times stressingly annoying.  Since my first Shinjo manga: Love Celeb, I found myself looking for the next one and the next one and the next one.  It’s funny, it’s not like I like them overly, so much that I’d praise it again again and again, but it’s the kind of series where I am so bloody engrossed, it’s already dawn before I realise I’ve read the whole night through.  It’s that good a manga.

Firstly, I don’t know much about Mayu Shinjo, but that’s not really what this post is about.  What this post is about, is the fact that her mangas are awesome, if you’re into smutty manga or romance manga.  I’m not much of a big fan, but any dramatic manga/drama tv show/romantic YA novel is great for learning how write your own conflicts in your own stories.  There are so many plot twists and conflicts you wonder when it’ll end.  Haha, learning that, I figured, there might actually be something good to watching and reading dramatic material.

So I’ve begun reading drama manga.  It’s mostly romance manga with some smutty ones, but I think, the best out of the lot are Mayu Shinjo’s works.

Now she has a lot of works, a lot of series, a lot of oneshots and short series.  My favourite is Love Celeb with Midnight Children coming in second, and Sensual Phrase and Haou Airen coming in third.

Love Celeb, Sensual Phrase and Haou Airen, have something that I love.  They all connect, well not really connects, but rather, you see characters from one manga featuring in the other however briefly.  I really love those kinds of stories, they remind of Sarah Dessen‘s works (which all connect having similiar locations and varying cameos of characters from other novels).

Sensual Phrase was the first of the three to be created.  It’s about a love between a musician and the band’s lyricist who happens to be a woman.  It’s sweet and charming, hot and sexy, and also rife with pain and tragedy at some moments.  I enjoyed the romance primarily because Sakuya loves and puts Aine above all else (even when she’s being silly, but I love how she grows towards the end, completely understanding Sakuya’s feelings).

The second of the three was Haou Airen.  I loved and hated this.  This was seriously dark and grimy and as a female, I seriously felt uncomfortable with the situations the characters go through.  Yet the ending is satisfactory if sad and unexpected.  I liked Hakuron’s character.  As the head of the Black Dragon Organisation in Hong Kong, he’s completely coldhearted and indifferent. Just as someone in his position of power should be.  But he falls in love with Kurumi, a girl who just happened to help him one day, only thing is (and this is purely my opinion) she’s too stupid to not choose him over the girl who pretended to be her friend.  This is a pretty intense manga, it’s not to be read lightly.

And finally, my favourite of all of Mayu Shinjo’s works is Love Celeb.  It’s the lightest and funniest of the three mangas.  Gin is such a child!  Yet masculine and grown up at times.  He doesn’t recognise his feelings as love, even though he hates Kirara’s manager even touching Kirara.   Kirara is a little stupid, yet she’s smarter than Kurumi from Haou Airen, so I don’t hate her as much.  Even if this one is smutty, it’s certainly the funniest.

Some select pages from the manga (when Gin is at his best – represented using Chibi artwork by Shinjo.  Hehe, one reason why he is the best Shinjo male character, he’s so childish and cute in this form!!)

love-celeb-ch 12 pg 29

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb, Chapter 12

love-celeb-ch 7 pg 11

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb, Chapter 7 (Isn’t Gin cute? He’s a rich boy making porridge for the first time haha)

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 4

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (oooh this one is with Sakuya, isn’t Gin’s expression sweet? (Gin is the one in the middle panel))

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 8

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (No one orders the most powerful man in the whole of Japan without incurring his wrath, well, everyone except Sakuya, that is ;P)

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 9

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (Gin making coffee for Sakuya)

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 30 - so cute!

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (A couple’s cute love!)

love-celeb-ch 9 pg 8

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 9 (There’s nothing better than a grown up boy with shiny eyes)

Inspiration 3.

Part three!  Be Inspired! Links to Inspiration and Inspiration 2

INSPIRATION 3:

I am Inspired.

I am enlightened.

I am fire and glory.

I am the Artist.

*

My inspiration is the perfect shape of Godfrey Gao’s jaw;

The slightly fuzzy, yet brightly beautiful Alyson Stoner’s photo;

The crazy hair on Max Kasch’s character’s head in Holes;

And the way Jamie Campbell Bower stares at the camera.

*

The way the silk and organza gown falls on the stick thin model;

The fact that windblown hair in a photoshoot is a concoction of hairspray and other shape holding chemicals;

The curvaceously daring blending of eyeshadow art that borders obscenity yet is still adopted;

The ridiculously high stilettos that make women teeter about.

*

Inspiration is tattoo art;

Body art for art’s sake;

Nail art that’s too pretty to stay forever;

Henna that’s just black on skin, strangely beautiful.

*

It is the beautiful long artistic hair on the manga girl;

The arty cool, but girly looking manga guy;

The sparkling bright eyes of the shoujo girl;

The dark, scary panel behind the manga guy.

*

Inspiration is being one with the character you just met;

Empathetic to the pains of the protagonist;

Sympathetic of the tragedy of the hero;

Disgusted by the indifference of the love interest.

*

It’s screaming at the stupid characters;

Blitzing the next chapters because you’re in love with the story;

Crying because the author’s just too good;

Falling asleep because the story is just boring.

*

Inspiration is procrastination because you can’t be bothered;

Procrastinating because you’re scared;

Procrastinating because you’re anticipating;

Procrastinating because you don’t want it to end.

*

It is doing your homework within the last twenty minutes before it’s due;

Finishing your assignment with plenty of time to spare;

Completing the set readings on the train ride to uni because you forgot the night before;

Researching for the latest paper with the enthusiasm you didn’t know you had.

*

Inspiration is the unexpected moment at the worst possible time;

Is signalled by the sudden flurry of movement and flying paper;

Is lost in the past when there was no writing implement available;

Is the frustratingly beautiful thing scribbled in the most random place.

*

It is hidden in the desk, where you left it last summer;

Stuck to the pinboard as a reminder some time ago;

Written on your hand during class;

In the mailbox where you sent it when you were away.

*

Inspiration is lasting;

Faintly grasped;

Expanded upon;

Nurtured to full bloom.

*

From Left to Right clockwise: Godfrey Gao, Jamie Campbell Bower, Alyson Stoner, Max Kasch from Holes.

Image  Image  Image  Image

It’s a Sweet Life. A One Piece Fanfic.

Ace has become one of my favourite supporting characters in One Piece, and with the backstory and everything, I felt that even though he dies, he deserved a secret story himself.  I’d like to imagine that in his short fictional life he found love, even if he didn’t believe it before.  So here is my Ace fanfic.

First of all my dear readers, followers, I never write fanfics.  Generally because the stories out there are already so perfect.  Plus most of the time there isn’t a story that I can insert or feel that should exist, but when I was reading One Piece, I suddenly felt this inspiration to write a fanfic.  I really felt that urge, one that I hadn’t felt for years to write a story for some manga that I was reading.  So I wrote it.  

Second, I think even though it is a fanfic, just being able to write something is like the beginning of a writer’s career – what I mean, more practise writing is always good for a writer, whether or not it’s a fanfic borrowing another artist’s character.

Third, and this is the most important number of the three, I do not own Ace or any of the characters from the manga One Piece by Eiichiro Oda – who, by the way has the most amazing manga and anime out there!  SO if you do end up enjoying my little fanfic, please go and the read the manga (if you haven’t read it yet), you’ll not regret it!  Also most of my fanfic, obviously is fan fiction, is most of my work except towards the end, when it’s the battle scene, most of what is being said has been taken from the original manga, and therefore belongs to Eiichiro Oda.  As for my lovely main character, Kisa, she’s mine.

SO please enjoy, I know for some of my constant readers this is a little different to what I usually write, but what can I say, I was inspired for a moment and wrote as quickly as possible so I could get it out there!

It’s a Sweet Life, my Ace.

I met Ace some time ago, he was eighteen then, and I was sixteen.  I was heading for the cliff that day, ready to throw myself off because I hated the life I lived.  It’s not hard to hate oneself, even if the people around you know you and care about you.  But it’s still difficult knowing you are cursed with a gift of water and yet cannot swim in it.  It is like a fish who cannot truly be a fish because for some reason it cannot swim.  If he had not been there that day, I would have really done it.  But as it was, he was, and I hated him.  But because of my nature I could not walk away from an injured man.

Freshly washed up on the shore and a little roughed up from some battle, I disliked him immediately.  What was there to like about a pirate especially one who had ruined my plans?  But yet, in the hot sun, he was beautiful; golden skin with a slight smattering of freckles on his cheeks.  His hat, an orange-brown, was soaked yet still squashed on his head.  His shorts were also soaked, completely saturated, they left little space for the imagination.  I’d blushed at first sight.  At that moment, he didn’t have a tattoo on his back.  Then, he was just Ace to me.

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Skip Beat! By Yoshiki Nakamura.

There are times when you come across a novel or manga that you just can’t believe you’re reading.  It might begin great, or even have a very plausible plotline to begin with.  But something draws you back.  And for this, Yoshiki Nakamura’s Skip Beat!, it is the protagonist that drew me in.  I love complicated characters, just as I love characters that are well-rounded and have a sense of justice or character.  I love characters like Shirley Marr’s Eliza Boans from her book Fury and Richelle Mead’s Rose  from Vampire Academy or her Sydney from BloodlinesCharacters like these make me want to know more about them.

It really is something when a character is formed so well that it is the character that drives the story on.  As for Skip Beat!It has the kind of storyline that draws you in.  What I love about Nakamura’s work is that she puts a lot of effort into researching the specific ‘area’ of her manga.  Like with her previous manga – Tokyo Crazy Paradise – which was focused on Yakuza, Skip Beat has a sense of authenticity to it.

Kyoko Mogami is the main character.  Her story begins with her discovering her childhood friend and love, Shotaru Fuwa betrayed her.  Not wanting to take over the family business and wanting to pursue a career in music, he persuaded her to go with him.  In Tokyo while ‘Sho’ is living it up as one of the most popular male celebrities in showbiz, Kyoko worked multiple jobs to support him.  But when she discovers, because she overheard him complaining about her to flirt with his manager, that he used her and is still using her, Kyoko’s Pandora’s box bursts open.  In that moment, she lets her anger and rage at Sho’s mocking (he tells her that she can only get revenge if she becomes a bigger star than him) fuel her desire for revenge.

Just one moment when Kyoko is trying desperately to keep her identity hidden from Sho (since her transformation, Sho can’t tell it’s her) and her little devils come out to play! (Source: Mangareader)

As the series progresses, Kyoko, even if I disagree with her initial reason for joining showbiz, Kyoko grows on me.  She has a determination and honesty, a type of character that can be admired, that grows on the reader.  When she gets into acting, and her relationship with Ren Tsuruga (Or Tsuruga Ren in the Japanese style), you realise that she really does love acting, and that she’s not just doing it for revenge.  While she does begin her journey in showbiz under a specially created division by the President called ‘Love me’ – a division for those that have potential but need to learn how to be loved by the audience, something Kyoko lacks because of her past experience with Shotaru Fuwa – she eventually gains a foothold in showbiz as an up and coming actress.

This manga, originally beginning with revenge develops into something more.  Having read quite a large amount of shojo manga, this is one of my favourites.  Like Ouran High School Host Club comedy is a large factor.  Romance surfaces every so often, but like the kinds of stories I enjoy, it’s slow, and not the main attraction.  The main attraction to this series is Kyoko’s journey, her growth as a person, as a ‘Love me’ member and as an actress is fascinating.

Don’t you just love Kyoko’s reaction? She’s seriously the best character ever! (Source: Mangareader)

I truly love Nakamura’s work.  I love the story telling, and the artwork grows on me over time.  I guess, some of my more favourite panels are those that depict Kyoko’s feeling the most.  My favourite arcs are when Kyoko is given the task of discovering a new acting role.  Her roles, ‘Mio’, ‘Natsu’, ‘Kuon’, and ‘Setsu’ are all amazing.  I love how she transforms as much as I love how she struggles to find her character.  Really, it’s so hard these days to find a novel or a manga where the character works real hard to succeed.  While I loved Nononono by Lynn Okamoto – where the protagonist is already very good, and is cocky because of it, but she learns to overcome different aspects that are a weakness, like fear, something she’d forgotten – in Skip Beat, Kyoko begins at the bottom.  She has to work hard to move forward because, even though she is talented, even she needs to smooth out those rough edges.  And thus why her story is so engaging.

Recently I reread the series again, in my head, I’m screaming, “I want more!”  I just can’t enough, and yet, I can’t help it since I’m reading scanlations, therefore, I have to wait until more are uploaded.  I want more, but I can only read what’s there.  And believe me, I totally get why this series is popular, it attracts in every way – a bit of romance, a bit of drama, quite a bit of humour and definitely some growth (by this, I mean character growth).  For sure, I cannot wait until the end, I feel it will be dramatic!

Nononono by Lynn Okamoto.

Nononono Manga

I came across this manga the other day when I was on mangareader.  While generally I’m all for purchasing the physical thing sometimes it’s just not possible, especially if the manga hasn’t been translated to English and is not selling in your local bookstore.  So that’s where the ‘scanlations’ come in.  It’s really helpful for putting out there the works of mangaka which wouldn’t get noticed otherwise by the international market, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, so I started reading ‘Nononono’ by Lynn Okamoto and at first I thought it was a bit perverted (since there are some scenes where the main protagonist is naked), but as I got past the third and fourth chapters, I realised this series was actually quite brilliant.

Since there isn’t a Wikipedia page for this series I thought I should write something about it here.  This manga deserves to be read.  Whether in the tankōbon volumes or on an online reader or whatever, it should be read!

It’s a sports manga, centred on the sport of ski jumping in Japan.  Now I really love sport mangas, especially when you really get a very close insight to the training and not just the just lives of the characters.  But I like them better when the main protagonist has drive.  Nononono’s main protagonist is a girl who’s cross-dressing as a guy so that she can fulfil her family’s dreaming of winning a gold medal at the Olympics.  She has to dress as a guy because there is no competition for women’s ski-jumping.

Nononono 129 - Page 2

(Source: Mangareader)

I mean sure Yuuta Nonomiya is really cocksure at the start, and that really bothered me.  I thought at first, great, this is one of those.  But then, there was fragility.  You see ‘Yuuta Nonomiya’ is actually ‘Nono Nonomiya’, the twin.  Nono is pretending to be her brother, who had died the year before.  Later in the volumes, you find out her backstory, and honestly! – it is completely heartwrenching.  I really felt the horror of Nono’s suffering.  I really understood why she was doing what she was doing.  Lynn Okamoto did a very good job with telling the backstory.  I have to say, I was so impressed, I can’t wait for the next chapters.

Nononono 129 - Page 9

(Source: mangareader)

But Nono never loses sight of her goal.  At one point, it seems like she does, but then, she gets it back again.  Through further understanding and development as a character, Nono grows in this series.  When I learnt about her reason for becoming her brother, it also made me want to win that gold medal.  And it made me love her character more despite some annoyances about her character.  Like how she’s unnaturally cocky, but then again, this is probably one of the first manga’s I’ve read where the character is actually good at what she’s doing and at the same time, a likable character.

Nono Nonomiya begins uncomfortably, a character whose not quite sure of her character, but as the series progresses, she grows.  And though she’s perceived as a girly kind of kind, it’s clear that she still wants to be a girl.  A trait that not only can hinder her prospects at ski-jumping, but sometimes can get annoying (since she cries a bit too much).

As for the supporting characters, Kishitani is a great kid, while at first, after he discovers Nono’s secret, he’s a little strange (and strange is a euphemism here for how he actually acts, since if I say more it will give it away).  Amatsu doesn’t know her secret and he’s the cleverest of the group.  But still he respects her (even though he still thinks she’s a he) as a ski-jumper.  As for Kourogi, she’s very supportive of Yuuta/Nono even though Nono acts strange sometimes because of her gender (which Kourogi also doesn’t know about).  Then there are the other characters that come into play such as Shiriya (or Emperor as he likes to be called), Sora (Yuuta’s girlfriend, who knows Nono’s secret) and, though I’m not sure, but I want to put his name here too, Maoka, a guy who was beating constantly by Nono when he was younger, despite being two years her senior.  Maoka chases after Nono in the air, and as of chapter , (I think) he’s aware of Nono’s identity.    There is also the sport’s journalist named Yoda who helps Nono keep her secret even though she didn’t want to accept his help in the first place.  But at the same time there are characters who find out about Nono’s identity who are willing to blackmail her for it.

While there is a cast of other interesting characters, a dramatic (sometimes a little overdramatic, but realistic enough and very character orientated, so I still like it) and action packed, the art is not too bad either.  In fact Okamoto’s art and panel flow is easy to follow.

I’ll say, I cannot wait to see the end of this.  I can imagine it will be both very dramatic and gratifying and for once, I will say I don’t mind drama much at all (but only just this once, since it’s Nononono).

Ouran High School Host Club.

Ahhh…who can withstand the ridiculous antics of Ouran High School Host Club?

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