Never Knows Best

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For the last few days I haven’t done much of anything, I started to draw a few times but maybe I’m just not in the right mindset yet. It’s been a long road of ups and downs, and the last few days I’ve felt a little queasy. I’m feeling a little better today, but I really ought to take the advice of a friend and get into some kind of routine, otherwise I fear this will just become the norm. I thought starting this blog as a first step as something to do would certainly help me start things off, so hopefully I can keep motivating myself.

Friday evening I watched all of FLCL, not that it was too hard as it’s only 6 episodes, but for some reason I had never watched it and felt it was time to rectify that. Overall I liked it, it was a bit zany for me at times but it was still a rather enjoyable for what it was. Though I think people give it too much hype, like they do Evangelion, both series are good in my book. I like short OVAs because I can watch them in one sitting and not feel like I have 3+ days to like 2 months ahead of me to finish it up. I was done with this in close to 3 hours, barring any breaks I took mid episode to do things around the house or whatnot. When I was finished it was a bit late, so I called it a night.

Then, Saturday evening I moved onto Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which is silly and another easy to watch show. Sometimes when you’re not up for something deep, dark, and emotional, shows like this come along and really help mellow you out. I like to balance myself like that, as I just finished watching all of Revolutionary Girl Utena and it was really time for something light. It’s a little fanservicey at times but I think it’s pretty funny, I don’t slap my leg laughing at it like some people I know but it’s definitely not something that makes me facepalm every other minute from stupidity. If you like comedy that isn’t over the top zany, I think this one is pretty good. The girls all have some sort of problem, the super positive girl, the hikikomori girl, the stalker girl, the illegal immigrant… It’s your typical school anime but with a definite streak of dysfunctional.

As for the art front, I had an idea to get myself inspired a bit, but I’m not sure how well it’ll work out. I wanted to start-up playing one of the new Pokemon games, I figured I’d go with White Version because of the version exclusives, ( I love you Lilligant! <3 ) and what I wanted to do was draw a little comic to go along with my journey. A friend suggested to me instead of worrying about the story so much, maybe just draw little scenes and the like, instead of a whole comic which may be easier but I guess I’ll see about it when I get around to wanting to start-up a file. I’ve been on a bit of an anime binge lately so I haven’t picked up my DS much in the last 2 weeks or so.. I pick up so many things at once, but I’ve been trying to rectify that by going back and finishing things I left undone, I wonder how long I’ll hold out..

My next anime blog post most likely will be about something I’ve watched previously, I wanted to do one on Sailor Moon but I really need to refresh my memory so I think I’ll get started on the Manga and let that jog me, otherwise I’ve been big into Slayers since finishing Sailor Moon and I think as I continue that series I can also come up with some good ideas there, so let me know what you think.

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100 Themes

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I’m sure some of you have heard of the 100 themes challenge, if not, basically it’s a list of words and you’re supposed to make something that expresses each word. Whether it’s a drawing, poetry, a story or what have you, the idea is to challenge yourself, I think. I’ve been in a slump for years, when I was younger I would draw nearly every day, especially in school. It seemed like every week I had a new comic idea, but then as I got older I felt like it sorta drifted away.

For years, I would roleplay, that was a great source of inspiration, but as my friends and I get older, we don’t have as much time to sink into these things, so I thought I would challenge myself to do all 100. I want to feel good about my art again, like it’s something of importance, and not just a talent I rarely use.

I’ll be using this list I found on DeviantArt I like this set of phrases the best, as most of the words are inspiring at even a glance.

1. Introduction
2. Love
3. Light
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
6. Break Away
7. Heaven
8. Innocence
9. Drive
10. Breathe Again
11. Memory
12. Insanity
13. Misfortune
14. Smile
15. Silence
16. Questioning
17. Blood
18. Rainbow
19. Gray
20. Fortitude
21. Vacation
22. Mother Nature
23. Cat
24. No Time
25. Trouble Lurking
26. Tears
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Happiness
30. Under the Rain
31. Flowers
32. Night
33. Expectations
34. Stars
35. Hold My Hand
36. Precious Treasure
37. Eyes
38. Abandoned
39. Dreams
40. Rated
41. Teamwork
42. Standing Still
43. Dying
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
46. Family
47. Creation
48. Childhood
49. Stripes
50. Breaking the Rules
51. Sport
52. Deep in Thought
53. Keeping a Secret
54. Tower
55. Waiting
56. Danger Ahead
57. Sacrifice
58. Kick in the Head
59. No Way Out
60. Rejection
61. Fairy Tale
62. Magic
63. Do Not Disturb
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
70. 67%
71. Obsession
72. Mischief Managed
73. I Can’t
74. Are You Challenging Me?
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
77. Test
78. Drink
79. Starvation
80. Words
81. Pen and Paper
82. Can You Hear Me?
83. Heal
84. Out Cold
85. Spiral
86. Seeing Red
87. Food
88. Pain
89. Through the Fire
90. Triangle
91. Drowning
92. All That I Have
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement
96. In the Storm
97. Safety First
98. Puzzle
99. Solitude
100. Relaxation

My end goal is to represent each phrase to the best of my ability, however long it takes. At best, I hope to get a few done a month, but if it takes longer, then so be it.

Revolutionary Girl Utena

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I’m rather new to the blog scene, they’ve been around for years but I’ve never found myself able to keep up with one. I spend most of my time drawing, playing video games, or watching anime, so I thought maybe I could share my thoughts here as an outlet.

Revolutionary Girl Utena
Dios, Utena & Anthy

Most recently I finished watching the series Revolutionary Girl Utena, a contemporary fairy tale with a twist, which I feel strays away from traditional shoujo archetypes. I’ve heard people refer to it as the Neon Genesis Evangelion for girls, and I can see where they got the idea. They both deal with psychological elements, NGE may be darker than Utena ever was, but the elements present in the later arcs definitely put you through a loop when contrasted with the start of the series. The biggest thing I loved about this series, is that while things start getting dark and serious, they always have a touch of lightheartedness so that you don’t spiral down into some deep depression mid series. That itself makes it stand out from NGE which, while I liked it, it weighed heavily on me when the series ended and frustrated me to no end when I didn’t ‘get it.’ When Utena ended, I felt good about what I saw. I was happy for it.

There are many themes, many of them dark such as manipulation, death, betrayal, and even forbidden love, but also many light themes, such as friendship, chivalry, and a sense of nobility. There’s a good balance of both and I think that they did a great job expressing the darker themes, in a way that’s almost tasteful. I never felt awkward or dirty watching the characters, nor did I feel it was ever trite and unbelievable. Utena is very much a coming of age anime, as its main heroine Utena grows and changes she comes to learn more about herself as she gets wrapped deeper and deeper into the story. Sitting at just 39 episodes, it didn’t take me too long to breeze through it, though after initially watching only seven episodes, I stopped for a short time to watch other things. For some, it may start off a bit slow, but by episode 15/16 things start getting more tense and emotional and honestly had me hooked. At first I may have had my doubts, but after finishing the series, I feel it was definitely worth the time I spent watching it.

The story itself revolves around the “Rose Bride” and the Ohtori Academy Student Council, as the Council members fight to obtain the her, as she is thought to be the key to a coming revolution. The current champion is constantly challenged for the right to possess her. The Main Character, Utena, a chivalrous, kind, and trusting individual, met a prince in her childhood. She was so impressed with him that she decided to become a prince herself, reflected in her choice of clothing and personality. She attends Ohtori Academy where she meets Anthy Himemiya, who she soon finds wanting to protect when she sees she’s in an abusive relationship with a fellow student. Utena fights to protect Anthy and is pulled into a series of duels with the Student Council. Unaware what she’s gotten into, she defeats her opponent and obtains the “Rose Bride”, Anthy Himemiya.

Overall, for the series, I’d say a 8.5/10. The music was great, I felt a real concern for Anthy’s wellbeing, and I will admit I got a bit teary eyed at the ending. ( Ok, maybe I cried. A little. ) The story may have felt a little slow at times, there are a few Nanami-heavy episodes that I would consider filler that I didn’t like too much but all around, it was a good watch and I would definitely watch it again in a few years. The music in the series is mostly done in what I’d call a… Choral Rock style and then there’s even some jazzy elements, but overall it’s very catchy. For such a short series, the OST is actually pretty big, the collection I have is like 10 cds. The opening, sung by Okui Masami is very nice, but picking just one version, that’s the hard part. It’s definitely up there with some of my favorite series, such as Sailor Moon.

Two years after the series finished, they released a movie titled Adolescence of Utena in 1999, which was a retelling of the original story. It definitely took a different route with the series, as some of the characters either had their personalities tweaked or they were removed all together. If you liked the series, I still say the movie is a good watch and even has some more great music, so to me, that alone is worth it. If you feel like you want more, Adolescence of Utena was good, even if a little short, as long as you view it as a retelling.

If you like a Shoujo series with drama, this series is definitely for you.