Blog 205 > Crows, Castles & Chaos Ahead

Greetings, my Fellow Toyboxers! Why? Why do I watch anime shows? And foreign films? Why? Because these forms of artistic entertainment always reminds me how there must be something “magical” or “supernatural” hidden within our everyday reality. If it can be “seen” or “imagined” in our creative minds, then it’s only one step away from being “touched” and “felt” in our physical world. New technologies. New languages. New relationships. New loves. New frames of mind and heart. So enough of this grand delusional monologue! Let’s strap-on our seat-belts and launch ourselves into a free-falling whirlpool of imaginations both tantalizing and terrifying, both mind-boggling and heart-stopping…

Part 1 of 5 > Crows, Prophecies & Revelations

Crows! Chasms! Castles! Chaos! Making up for my utter lack of speed-reviews last week, I’ll be sling-shooting no less than 4 anime speed-reviews plus 1 foreign-film speed-review for this week’s mighty 5-part mega-cast! Hopping from Japan to Germany to Turkey and every fictional city in between, lol. Yup, 4 anime titles, which brings my total to a blazing 26 completed anime titles-or-seasons this year! Nice! I’m already ahead of my 50-per-year pace, lol. Here are the titles: “Karas” [23], “Tales of the Abyss” [24], “Howl’s Moving Castle” [25], and “Chaos;Head” [26]. Well, let’s begin!

Karas – The Prophecy (2005) & The Revelation (2007) [23]. On 27 May 2009, I completed my 23rd anime title-or-season of the year. Due to the oddly-spaced nature of its releases, I watched the first 3 episodes about 1-3 years ago. But only watched the final 3 episodes a couple weeks ago. Yup, oddly released. Nonetheless, despite its lush 2D-to-3D animation, its enigmatic and powerful tale of spirits and battles still seemed to lack a heart. Or if it did have one, it failed to express it. No heart. No bond. No connection. Like a violent knight without a voice. Thus, 3 of 5 stars. In any case, here are a few images and wallpapers to transmit an electric taste of the story!

Here are a few scenes from “Karas – The Prophecy” (2005).






Here are a few wallpapers from “Karas – The Prophecy” (2005). Feel free to enlarge.





Next, here are a few scenes from “Karas – The Revelation” (2007).












Finally, here’s a wallpaper from “Karas – The Revelation” (2007). Feel free to enlarge.

Yeah, “Karas” felt quite “Batman”-esque indeed. Dark knights. Sad fates. Heartless souls. Hmm, Christian Bale wouldn’t mind starring in the live-action version (if there ever is one), would he? LOL.


Part 2 of 5 > Tales, Tears & Abysses

Hmm, I don’t quite remember how “Tales of the Abyss” leapt onto my list. But I suspect that Trendy Toyboxers such as Otaku Dan or Girl G33k probably mentioned it once or twice along my otakuspheric odysseys in the last few months, lol.

Tales of the Abyss (2008) [24]. On 30 May 2009, I completed my 24th anime title-or-season of the year. Based on the original PS2 videogame (2005) and animated by Sunrise, this colorful 26-episode odyssey of wild hair, wicked outfits and oversized weapons reminded me of the classic “Thundercats” (1985) as well as the epic “Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebellion” (2006), another Sunrise production! Yup, a strange cocktail, but an impressive bit of storytelling nonetheless! The characters are multilayered. The relationships are complicated. And the identities are not always what they seem. Even the otherworldly pseudo-science is metaphorically understandable, lol. Unlike “Karas”, there’s a heartfelt and lyrical warmth that makes you want to follow their struggles through sand and snow. A brilliantly entertaining 5 of 5 stars! To celebrate, here are a few images and wallpapers to tickle your anime skin!

Here are a few PS2 and DVD covers for “Tales of the Abyss”.



And here are a few wallpapers.






Heyyy, if you’ve seen “Tale of the Abyss”, can you guess which character reflects me the most? Three seconds, 3, 2, 1. Got the answer? Jade Curtiss, of course! LOL, can you guess why?


Part 3 of 5 > Howls, Hearts & Castles

Speaking of Christian Bale from “Batman”, listen to this! Five years after its original release, I finally managed to watch Hayao Miyazaki-sensei’s classic fantasy film “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Finally, lol.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) [25]. On 31 May 2009, I completed my 25th anime title-or-season of the year. I watched it for the first time with Japanese audio and English subs. Then two days later, on 02 June 2009, I watched it for the second time with the English dub, including Christian Bale as Howl, lol. And guess what? I decided to raise my initial 4 of 5 stars, to a full 5 of 5 stars! Yup, after familiarizing myself with such a richly-layered, steampunk-painted and magically-flavored world, my second viewing allowed me to enjoy the subtle details in Sophie’s elderly childishness and her newfound anachronistic wonderment, lol. Quite a surprise indeed! I mean, it finally makes sense that Madame Suliman was the one who turned the Prince into a Turnip, in an elaborate battle to capture Howl, right? Haha, a fantastical 5 of 5 stars indeed. In another celebration, here are a few “howling” images and scenes to warm your fiery starlit heart!

Here are a few images of “Howl’s Moving Castle” itself, lol.



Here are a couple of high-resolution (1400px or higher) scenes.


Finally, here are a few scenes from the official Disney website.

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Sophie | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Calcifer & Sophie | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Sophie & Howl | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Sophie & Howl | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Howl | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Sophie | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Sophie & Calcifer | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Heen | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Castle | Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Haha, I guess it isn’t so wildly far-fetched for Christian Bale to move from this animated “Howl” to a live-action “Karas”, is it? Nooooo!


Part 4 of 5 > Dreams, Delusions & Chaos

Sliding from romantic dreams to raving delusions, we finally reach the psycho-maniacal main event! Yup, after stumbling across a couple of recent “Chaos;Head” reviews, including *Toyboxer* Girl G33k’s post “Chaos Head” (25 May 2009) and *Toyboxer* Aprilius20’s post “Chaos;Head: Delusion=Reality” (29 May 2009), I decided to chase my curiosity and take a blind peek. To be clear, I haven’t fully read their reviews yet. But in the past, I’ve tended to slightly-to-overly disagree with their perspectives, hehe. But that’s okay. That’s the beauty of artistic interpretations. The endless variety! Now enough of the back-story babble. Here’s my chaotic speed-review!

Chaos;Head (2008) [26]. On 07 June 2009, I completed my 26th anime title-or-season of the year. Based on the original visual novel (2008) and animated by Madhouse, this schizophrenic 12-episode spiral into hallucinatory madness reminded me of a skull-full of anime titles. Virtual pieces of “Persona – Trinity Soul” (2008), obsessive bits of “Ef – A Tale of Memories” (2007), psychotic shards of “Perfect Blue” (1997), as well as the blue-haired shades of “Evangelion” (1995). But if I had to pick two highly-colliding titles, I’d say this anime is a poorly-executed puddle of the sublimely-cyberpunk “Serial Experiments Lain” (1998) mixed with a grimly-diluted form of the romantic-comedy “Akikan” (2009). Yup, like mixing two of my favorite intense colors into one muddy mess. Especially when compared to the impressively high-quality shots from its original visual novel (see images below). In this light, the “Chaos;Head” anime could have attained the quality of the “Fate/Stay Night” (2006) anime. But it didn’t. Thus, a mediocre yet mildly provoking 3 of 5 stars. Not too bad. Luckily, here’s a striking collection of wallpapers, visual-novel scenes, and fan-made art to soothe your desperate illusions!

Here are a couple of high-resolution (1600px) wallpapers.


Here are 6 horizontal high-resolution (1600px) scenes from the visual novel. At least, based on the quality, I *believe* they’re from the visual novel.






Next, here are 8 vertical high-resolution (1200px or higher) scenes from the visual novel. Again, based on the quality, I *believe* they’re from the visual novel.








Next, here are a couple of fan-vectored high-resolution (1600px or higher) wallpapers.


Finally, here’s a huge-resolution (3300px or higher) wallpaper featuring the fictional 107 Building in Shibuya, followed by a 2006 photo of the real-world 109 Building in Shibuya, Tokyo. Haha, nice!


Yup, Shibuya! Here’s one of my replies to Girl G33k’s “Chaos Head” post (25 May 2009).

As for Shibuya, that’s the notoriously infamous “shopping district” in Tokyo. The highest mecca of popular fashion, magnetic trends and superficial decadence, lol. In that light, I suppose it could be compared to “Hollywood & Vine” in LA or “The Strip” in Vegas… Don’t all apocalyptic nightmares occur in highly-populated intersections? LOL. ^_^

Well, don’t they all?


Part 5 of 5 > Suns, Moons & Stars in July

What? A live-action film? A German foreign film? Hey, why not? Actually, this film has probably been sitting in my rental queue for years! Maybe even *several* years! So when the rental DVD unexpectedly appeared in my mailbox, it was quite a surprise, lol. After all, to enjoy your favorite things (like anime), sometimes you need to take a refreshing and cleansing break from it, right? Hence, a randomly foreign film that caught my eye, all those years ago!

In July (Im Juli) (2000). On 06 June 2009, I finished the German romantic comedy “In July”. Hahaha, a geeky German physics teacher named Daniel (Moritz Bleibtreu) befriends a free-spirited street-vendor named Juli (Christiane Paul). But when Daniel meets a beautiful Turkish tourist named Melek and spontaneously decides to follow her from Hamburg to Istanbul, what does Juli do? Where does Juli go? To Istanbul, of course! Or doesn’t she? Doesn’t Daniel? I guess you’ll have to find out. Nonetheless, an amusingly charming and unpredictably sweet 4 of 5 stars! Awww.

Here are a couple of impromptu images, lol.


Wow, I gotta say, actor Moritz Bleibtreu is impressive! In fact, I clearly remember his intensity from “Run Lola Run” (Lola rennt) (1998). But here, he’s even more impressive! Beyond that, it was hard not to fall in love with actress Christiane Paul, lol. Definitely.

Ah, magic! Did we remind ourselves of the “magical” or “supernatural” possibilities hidden within our everyday reality? Did we remember that we’re only one step away from “touching” and “feeling” those possibilities in our physical world? Realizing new frames of mind and heart. The grand illusion shifting into the grand reality. Or not, lol. In any case, let’s thank Tear-chan, Sophie-chan, Rimi-chan, Nanami-chan, Ayase-chan, Sena-chan, Yua-chan, Kozu-pii, Seira-chan, Juli and Christiane! Hmm, wait, how did the 3-star anime titles get the most images?

Till next broadcast. Peace. Out.


Final Flashback

Speaking of July, here’s one coincidental post “Blog 145 > Vegas in July” (31 July 2008), which otherwise, has nothing to do with anything, hahaha. Well, except for “new frames of mind and heart”. I think?


47 thoughts on “Blog 205 > Crows, Castles & Chaos Ahead

  1. Hmm, isn’t this post a little early? I thought you published these every Friday. No complaints, though^,^

    Karas, eh. Never did get around to watching it, despite all the rave reviews. I think it’s probably something to do with the ‘henshin’ theme- I’ve had enough of Power Rangers, Kamen Rider, and the like. Btw, is that a carrot the jumping guy is holding in this image?

    Jade? For some reason I feel as if there’s a whip-wielding dominatrix hiding behind that uniform, haha. Personally, though, I’d go for Natalia, just for her cosutume. I suppose it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t watched the show yet, huh- I’m just thinking of their clothes, haha:p

    Just out of curiosity, is Cecil’s ‘Guy’ pronunced the French way, as in ‘Gih’, or just ‘Gai’? No offence to the French, but I’ve always felt like ‘Guy’ is just a way of reinforcing a man’s masculinity^^;;

    Ahh, HMC.. that was a brilliant movie. I didn’t even know that Bale was in it- I’ve never bothered with the dubs, but you’ve stirred my curiosity. I wonder how Howl will sound like.. more masculine, I guess.

    As for Chaos;Head, I gave it the same rating as you. Good enough, but not great- although I did like some of the themes, like the conflict between reality and delusion.

    On a side note, the image of Ayase on the flowerbed really does look misleading, doesn’t it? Horde of boys running eagerly towards a pretty girl lying on a pink bed of roses… eeps:3

    aprilius20´s last blog post > A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  2. Christian Bale played Howl?! What the hell?! I might rewatch it in English subs. XD Wait…where did my DVD go.. ._.

    Heh, Chaos Head…I started watching a few eps (and blogged one, it seems), but didn’t continue it cos the new season was coming up, it got too boring, and or too confusing.

    Ahh, that reminds me. I always had a tendency to fall asleep during German films. XD Any film…never failed to fall asleep. (Maybe even Lola Rennt, though I can’t really remember) Extreme lethargy. XD

    jenn´s last blog post > Terminator Salvation – Strange Names and Holey Games

  3. Um, I mentioned Tales of the Abyss back when I was doing a fall lineup review, I think. I finished watching it recently too, but I haven’t done a full review yet. Nor have I gotten to the video game (which is sitting in a pile next to my TV, waiting patiently for me to finish Persona 3 FES). I really enjoyed the story and characters in this one. They really progressed and grew over the course of the series.
    Jade was my favorite, of course (tall, mysterious guy with glasses strikes my heart again!).

    I loooved Howl’s Moving Castle. I had thought Crispin Freeman voice Howl, but he voices the Turnip/Prince Justin. Ahhh Crispin has an unbelievably sexy voice!

    I believe this is how I described Chaos;Head:
    “Think Clannad meets Evangelion meets Haruhi meets Serial Experiments Lain.” Which sounds close to what you thought as well.
    That image of Ayase in the flower bed is wonderful *steals.*

    It looks like he’s holding some kind of wrapped staff, not a carrot, lol. The area where is hand is grasping it is lit up for whatever reason.

    Kris´s last blog post > Paradise Kiss

  4. @A20-man: Nah, man. On the contrary, I’m a bit late. Typically Sunday nights (Vegas time). Good if earlier. Not-so-good if later. But that’s usually the result of a weekend event. Like a Rock Band Party. As was the case on Saturday, lol… Rave reviews for “Karas”? Not here! Must be the over-emphasis of 2D-3D special effects over story. As for the “carrot”, that’s 99% most-likely a wrapped scabbard for the sword (not a staff). And Kris-chan is right about the lit-up section. Check out the circle of spotlights on the wall. One of the spotlights is thus striking his scabbard. Simple, eh?… Yeah, Jade! I said “reflects me”, not “attracts me”, hahaha. In fact, he probably resembles u the most too! His Wikipedia profile:

    “Jade, formerly known as Dr. Jade Balfour, is a colonel of the Malkuth Empire. Jade is sarcastic, pessimistic, honest and logical. He is known as the ‘Necromancer’ for having animated the corpses of dead men. He is the creator of fomicry, a field of science as a means of creating replicas, which has alienated him from people. He is also very knowledgeable about fonic artes.”

    Lots of familiar adjectives, huh? Nah, Guy is pronounced “Gai”, short for “Gailardia”, lol… Yeah, “Howl” was an impressive surprise! Especially during the second viewing. But I don’t think many realize it was Bale because “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004) was released before Bale’s breakthrough in “Batman Begins” (2005). I didn’t know either until I watched the behind-the-scenes extras! Yup, you’re correct, Bale’s version sounds more masculine. But not so much that it diminishes Howl’s character. For some, it might even be enhanced… Yeah, “Chaos” was intriguing but not impressive. Haha, Ayase. Well, I think *any* image of boys running towards a pretty girl is misleading! As for “reality versus delusion”, I mentioned “Serial Experiments Lain” (1998) or “Lain” for short. Though I haven’t seen it in years, it’s still one of my cyberpunk faves!

    @Jenn-chan: LOL, yup, Christian Bale! Like I told A20 above: I don’t think many realize it was Bale because “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004) was released before Bale’s breakthrough in “Batman Begins” (2005)… A new “Chaos Head” season? Why? Twelve episodes of mediocrity wasn’t enough? Although the visual novel indeed looks distinctly better. Maybe there’s a follow-up novel too?… Hehe, sleepy German films? What about German car sex? >_<; @Kris-chan: Yeah, agreed! This "Tales of the Abyss" fantasy world is quite alluring indeed! Haha, you too? Jade? Well, he "reflects me" not "attracts me" the most, as I just told A20 above, lol. Again? Strikes your heart "again"? Why "again"? Who else is a tall, mysterious guy with glasses? Hmmm... Ahh, when I used to listen to English dubs years ago, Crispin was a definite fave! Not just Alucard in "Hellsing" or Togusa in "Ghost in the Shell: SAC", but also the hilarious Hideki in "Chobits", hahaha. Yup, I agree again, "Chaos" is quite a muddy mix! I mean, come on, "Lain" is insanely better than this half-hearted attempt, hehe. But not just Flowerbed Ayase, *all* of these visual-novel images are distinctly higher-quality than their animated counterparts, right? And Nanami's handless arm was quite a bloody surprise, lol... Btw, like I told A20, the "carrot" is 99% most-likely a wrapped scabbard for the sword, lit up by the circle of spotlights. After all, I don't ever remember him carrying a staff. Although a Di-Sword might've been interesting. ^_~

  5. @Jay:
    Scabbard, staff, it’s semantics. :) I mean, he could very well smack someone over the head with that thing, either way!

    Tall, mysterious guys with glasses (or sometimes sunglasses):
    Jade (Tales of the Abyss), Alucard (Hellsing), Jin (Samurai Champloo), Soshi (Absolute Boyfriend…OK not so mysterious but no less incredibly hot), Wolfwood (Trigun), Aion (Chrono Crusade), occasionally Sebastian (Kuroshitsuji), Maes Hughes (Full Metal Alchemist), Seiji (the only good thing about Moon Phase), Shigure (Fruits Basket), Abel Nightroad (Trinity Blood), Kyoya (Ouran High School Host Club), Uryu Ishida (Bleach), Yuu Himura (when he’s older, ef Tale of Melodies), Kira Sakuya (Angel Sanctuary), Seta (Love Hina), Yashiro (Skip Beat!)….

    *siiiiiiigh* There’s so many and they’re all so lovely…..

    Um…. Hey look over there, it’s provocatively posed Evangelion girls or…something. Just…ignore me…. ^_^

    I think I love Crispin the most in Witch Hunter Robin (Amon), as Hagi in Blood +, and Alex Rowe in Last Exile. That voice just makes me melt….

    Ah…I didn’t even notice the girl’s hand was missing!

    Kris´s last blog post > Paradise Kiss

  6. Tales of the Abyss! I picked up the game right after I finished Tales of Symphonia (in which they did a little OVA and released a sequel on the Wii) but I was only able to get 10 hours into it before summer school kicked my butt last year. I was thinking of starting it over again and then catching the series after I finished or vice versa…haven’t decided on what I want to do exactly. Big fan of Jade so far, though :x

    Also, Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films! I saw it when it came out in theaters and fell in love with it.

    Lene´s last blog post > Summer to-do list

  7. @Kris: Now that you mention it, yeah, it does look like a staff. Didn’t bother with enlarging the image, haha. And if you’re going to bring up semantics, I’ll just go along with ‘carrot’, then, lol. Oh, and you forgot Toya from Ayashi ni Ceres, *winks*

    @Jay: Saay what?! Did you say *gasp* ‘he’? Oh my, I really thought that was a woman…*slap*. As for her… I mean, his character description, yup, quite a few familiar adjectives there, haha. Oh yes, Lain! Thanks for reminding me of it, that’s one of the shows that has been chewing on carrots in my HD on my watch-list:p

    As for Bale/Howl, I dunno… never did go for the macho alpha male. If he sounds too gruff I’ll switch back to the Japanese track… once I find the DVD. Here, kitty kitty…

    aprilius20´s last blog post > A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  8. @Kris-chan: Semantics? Haha, while u can whack someone’s head with either, I wouldn’t say a staff is functionally similar to a scabbard or sheath, lol. In that case, it might as well be a carrot after all! Ahhh, I see, *those* mysterious megane! My personal fave is this drummer. Can u guess why?… Awww, I’m sure if u posed provocatively (or innocently) in a high-school girl’s uniform, you’d attract your fair share of otaku, lol. Did u ever mention if u were a meganekko yourself? Your blog icon suggests so!… Now that u mention it, I’ve only watched the Jap-audio Eng-subbed version of “Blood+”. But don’t forget Crispin as the silver wolf in “Wolf’s Rain” too!… But do u see what’s happening? As soon as I recognize an English voice in anime after anime after anime, the coolness factor fades, and the annoyance factor rises. How can all of these characters somehow share the same voice? Nahhh, it gets ridiculous, lol… Although, on the Japanese side with Aya Hirano, I definitely see your point. ^_^;

    @Lene-chan: Yup, “Howl” and “Tales”! Jade is definitely my fave, lol. The logic. The power. The glasses, lol. Although, like I told Kris-chan immediately above, one *drummer* might beat Jade. Gahhh, now I have to watch “Tales of Symphonia” too?!? Gahhh!

    @RyoBase-man: Hahaha, such a huge sword for such a little girl! But it’s easy to explain. Maybe if the sword is composed of a massless energy plane? Like the blade of a lightsaber, right?… Ah, congrats on the move! I’ll have to check it out soon!

    @A20-man: Hahaha, the “carrot” semantics! That’s exactly what I told Kris-chan above!… Ahh, I see! Yeah, if you ever see the “Tales” anime, it’s pretty tough to mistake his voice or personality for that of a woman. Sarcasm. Logic. Alienation… Yeah, “Lain” is quite a mind-bender for a such a pre-“Matrix” series. Quite impressive… Ehh, if Bale’s voice never distracted me from the story, then that’s definitely a good thing! Isn’t it?

  9. @aprilius:
    Nah, I didn’t forget Toya; I didn’t know him. I haven’t seen/read Ceres yet. I was going with things I’ve seen and read. So I can’t forget something I didn’t know to begin with. :)

    AHHH Jade is a GUY! :( :( :( A very handsome, awesome guy. It’s a GUY!

    Kris´s last blog post > Paradise Kiss

  10. @Jay:
    Yeah, I know they’re not the same. I was just trying to make a bizarre joke. :)
    Scabbards can be effective weapons on their own if they’re made to be and are of high quality.

    Haha, that guy does look rather like you! Though, if we’re going to compare, you also look like Rude from FFVII Advent Children.

    I do actually have a picture of me in the erm, Halloween version of a “school girl” outfit. But no one gets to see that but my boy (and…all the people who saw me in it when I wore it out for Halloween one year). That was back when I still had a flat tummy. The thing doesn’t even fit me anymore, in various places. I’m not fat or anything, but when you put on 40 pounds, well, you won’t be fitting into a size 2 again anytime soon.

    Yes, I do wear glasses! I have since I was…probably around 8 year old maybe? I don’t remember, but it’s been a long time. I wore contacts for a while in HS, and into college, but my allergies got worse when I moved into the city, so I ditched them and I just wear glasses now. I actually just got some new ones last week.
    The picture on my blog was drawn by a friend of mine, with the instruction “I want to look like Julia from Cowboy Bebop.” So those are sunglasses there.

    But I also have this:

    I’ve been told I look a lot like Naru from Love Hina.
    But more this Naru:
    Than this Naru:

    And I know Crispin was in Wolf’s Rain but…well I didn’t really like Wolf’s Rain that much, so I wouldn’t really remember. There was a single scene in a single episode that blew me away, but it only lasted a few seconds. Nothing else in the show impressed me. Manga was good, though. Some of these actors though, they don’t always use the same voice for all their characters. Crispin certainly doesn’t. I don’t really think I mind it; I love connecting voice actors to roles, and I have really good ears, so I pick up on them very well. It doesn’t bother me…unless I don’t like them, lol. Plus I watch some shows in Japanese, and some in English, so I get a good mix of voices that way and don’t get tired of them.

    Kris´s last blog post > Paradise Kiss

  11. @Jay: I notice you’ve started adding -man to the male commenters… what could have inspired this, I wonder? Losing track of who the guys and girls are, perhaps? I’m fine with it though, as long as I don’t get called ‘aprilius-tan’… *shudders*

    Haha, I see what you see, but in the beginning I wasn’t comenting on how you related to Jade- I did mention that since I haven’t watched TOTA, I wouldn’t comment on your being able to connect with Jade, so there was no mistake, actually- besides the confusion over his gender:)

    @Kris: Toya was my first ‘guy-crush’, haha. I even wrote to the papers about him when they asked for readers opinions on bishounen^^; I thought of suggesting Zaraki Kenpachi as well, but never got around to mailing it:p

    Ooh, so a friend drew it? I’d been wondering about that for a bit. It looks nice… Definitely better than my own self-portrait, lol.

    aprilius20´s last blog post > A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  12. @aprilius:
    Haha yeah! I con my artist friends into drawing random crap for me all the time. :)

    For example:

    As Julia again, a picture for my birthday:

    Another birthday picture for me:

    And the original image for my blog pic (during my “OMG I met Steve Blum he’s so hot” phase):

    By the way, I prefer Byakuya Kuchiki. :)
    And I’m sorry Jay for hogging up your comments page with silly pictures.

    Kris´s last blog post > Paradise Kiss

  13. @Kris-chan: Bizarre indeed! But yeah, scabbards are weapons in their own right. Especially, carrot-flavored ones, lol. What? You’ve seen “Paradise Kiss”, but you’ve never seen Ai Yazawa’s much-cooler “Nana” yet? Yasu (that guy, lol) is the cool-and-collected deep-voiced drummer aspiring to be a lawyer! Very Crispin-esque. Any idea who does his English voice? Umm, no clue who Rude is. But I’m sure you’ll link the picture somewhere here, right? LOL… Aww, now I’m curious about the “school girl” outfit. Speaking of school, I’ve been four-eyed since first grade I think! Haha, I’m curious about the new frames too. Actually, to refresh my post-divorce look, I switched to my current frames in early 2007. Don’t wanna show my previous oval-shaped wire-frames cuz back then, I was probably about 30 pounds heavier myself, lol… Ahh, don’t worry about the links or images. I like how it adds a new splash of red to our comments, lol.

    @A20-man: Yeah-yeah-yeah, lol. Just adding a masculine counterpart to the “chan” I use for the females. Most likely for visual balance rather than any psychological lack. What? Don’t like Apri-pii? Ahh, no worries over Jade-sama, lol. Hahaha, so what’s with all the drawings and self-drawings? I think we all remember my black-leather “Firefly” self-portrait from my “Steampunk” Blog 196, Part 4, right? LOL!

  14. @Jay: Ahaha, I don’t mind it. So far I’ve been called (In Japanese) -san, -chan, and -sama. Although personally, I like -han, the kansai-ben version of -san:)
    Nooo not Apri-pii>,,<

    Ahh, 196… the post that greeted me on my first foray here, hehe:)

    @Kris: lol, must be nice having artist friends! Which reminds me, a friend of mine somewhere in NZ gets free rides to Auckland from his friends in flight school:P …Maybe I should hang around the ‘international relations’ campus for a bit. Or maybe the stewardess training center:3

    aprilius20´s last blog post > A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  15. @Jay:
    This is Rude from FFVII:

    Trying to find a good AC picture of him….
    Having a hard time finding a good, big image, but this has several from different angles:

    I have no idea who does the English voice for Yasu….

    Unfortunately you will not get to see the school girl pic, lol. I also don’t have any pics of my in my new glasses yet. The most recent one I had taken was two weeks ago at A-Kon, but I didn’t have them yet (and I don’t have the picture yet anyway…I need to nag someone about that). They look almost exactly like the ones I had before (which is what I wanted).

    Anyway, when I say I gained 40 pounds…. I went from weighing 100 to 140. And because I’m 5’10”, it didn’t make me fat; it made me “normal.” It all went to four places anyway (butt, gut, hips, boobs). I had to replace all my clothes, lol, it was crazy. So now instead of being an extra small, I’m a small-medium. Instead of a size 2, I’m a 6-8. And I don’t weight 140 anymore either…around 120-130. It’s a healthy weight for my size.

    It is! I know a bunch of web comic people. I’ve gotten birthday drawings, RPG character drawings (like for my D&D characters), things like that. I’ve also gotten a few free t-shirts and prints. The lovelies bought me my Cabbit too, which I couldn’t find anywhere down here. It helps if you have boobs, so I’m not sure if it will work for you, lol.
    [rq=551,0,blog][/rq]Paradise Kiss

  16. @A20-man: Ha! Fair enough, A20-man. We’ll stick with “man” for now, so Jenn-chan and others won’t mistake u for a girl, lol… Wait, Blog 196? Does that include or not include the stalking period? LOL… Though I never figured you’d want to train as a stewardess. Should I demote u to A20-kun?

    @Kris-chan: Ahh, Rude is the dude! And cool, a crush on Tifa? I might have to check out the FFVII sequel… Hmm, probably no English license for “Nana” yet then?… Ahh, I’m 5’10” at about 145-150, so 120-130 is definitely fine. Like I said at “Frightful Pangs”, you’ve got little to worry about. ^_^

  17. @Jay:
    NANA is licensed by Viz Media, but they haven’t put any DVDs or episodes out yet. Maybe later this year. FUNimation announced plans to air it on their anime channel (and the first volume has a Netflix listing), so I’m assuming they can’t be too far away. But not soon enough that an entire cast has been announced, I don’t think. Just the 2 Nana’s and Satou.
    But the two live action films are available.
    [rq=1448,0,blog][/rq]Paradise Kiss

  18. @Jay: Aah, don’t worry! It’s only 4 episodes long, and, unfortunately, it only makes a dent of what really happens in the game. Apparently, they’re supposed to release another OVA to close it up, but that was last year :(

    At least you’ll know up to the halfway point what kinda sorta happens.

    Plus, there are some notable seiyuu that star in ToS like Katsuyuki Konishi and Ai Orikasa :D

  19. @Jay: No thanks, I think I’d like to stick with -san^^; Oh no, I meant that ‘maybe I should loiter around the training center’, not that I wanted to be one, haha. Stalking period? Yup, I think it does- although my usage of the word is a little loose^^;

    And Yasu! He’s pretty cool- I love that line of his somewhere near the end, which went something like “If you’re so free why don’t you grow flowers in your garden or something?” Granted, it sounded better inJapanese, lol.

    @Kris: Cabbit? Wiki says it’s a cross between a rabbit and a cat… I’m pretty lost as to how it could possibly help boob-deprived persons though^^;;
    [rq=1538,0,blog][/rq]A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  20. @All-Toyboxers: Hey, my Fellow Toyboxers, big news! I just received my first troll attack! Nice! Apparently, this fake “Mimi-Solomon” hopped from the real Mimi-chan’s post “Why K-On” (02 June 2009) to my Toybox “Blog 204” (02 June 2009), then commented from his sunny location in Gardena, California, USA. Here’s the comment. Cool, huh?

    Author : Angry Mimi (IP:
    E-mail : solomon_freeman @

    Boy and i thought Mimi was full of crap. You have way more time on your hands to waste. Get a life.

    @Kris-chan: Ahh, gotcha. But if anyone’s gotta play Yasu, it’s gotta be Crispin Freeman! Cool, I’ve only seen the first live-action “Nana”, but are u implying those films already have English-dubs for those? ^o^

    @Lene-chan: Heyyy, Lene-chan! That’s it, only 4 “Symphonia” episodes? Only a half-hour each? So how long is the OVA? I suppose it might be worth it. I mean, “Karas” was only 6 episodes. But those were pretty mediocre. Still not the same as a half-or-full season… Bahhh, sorry, don’t know the seiyuu names are much as I should, lol.

    @A20-san: Okay-okay, “san” it is! Yeah, I know what u meant, lol. Just spinning the meaning in amusement. Well, I haven’t checked, but I assume Blog 196 is where u first commented? Ahh, scratch that, I just checked anyway. Blog 194 “Assassins” was where u first commented. Back in April. How fitting… Ahh, Yasu is definitely cool, despite his lawyerly tendencies, haha! Hey, is that when everyone grew little “flowers” on their heads?

  21. Ahaha, I meant to say that ‘I was fine with -man’ but slipped up and typed
    ‘-san’. Ok, I’d better shut up before you use Apri-pii on me^^;;

    Nono, you’re right, I first commented on 196, then went back in time to 194. At least, I think that’s how it went…

    Dunno about the flowers on heads, but I remember that in the anime Yasu’s outburst became a catchphrase amongst florists:)
    [rq=1725,0,blog][/rq]A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  22. @A20-man: Gahhh, either way, man. Or san. Or yan. Well, according to my Gmail timestamps, Blog 194 came first on April 7th, then 195 and 196 on April 8th… Haha, yup, Yasu’s mysterious yet catchy phrase… Wait, do u mean real-life florists in your neighborhood?

    P.S. Bah, that’s why I said “fake Mimi-Solomon”. Obviously the real DC Freeman wouldn’t be writing “Angry Mimi” from California, right? Hence, a troll.

  23. Nono, florists in the anime. I never bother with real-life florists… way to expensive.

    p.s. Yup, that’s what I thought, but I had no idea trolls committed identity theft as well- I thought they just want to attract attention to themselves. Hmm, troll with a, whazzitcalled, unhealthy obsession with the DC Freeman? Mmm, I wouldn’t mind being attacked by a troll, but a fake one…eeps>,<
    [rq=4240,0,blog][/rq]A bit of May and June, Screaming Utter Randomness

  24. @aprilius:
    No, no. I meant that…. I was talking about the benefits of having artist friends. And you said something about getting free flights (or you knew someone who did). So I was saying “Yeah, having boobs helps with getting things,” but that you lack them so it might not be as easy for you.

    No, the live action DVDs, licensed by Viz as well, only have English subtitles with Japanese dialog.

    ANN says each episode of Symphonia runs 33 minutes. I recommend it as well; I thought it was very sweet.
    [rq=4261,0,blog][/rq]Paradise Kiss

  25. @A20-man: LOL, understood… Ha, no-no, that’s a typical troll method. If “Anonymous” isn’t an option (like at Sankaku) and a blog comment typically requires an email address, then why would a troll give out his real address? Hence, someone else’s name or email. Though I suppose he could enter a fake email too.

    @Kris-chan: Boobs and more boobs? So did u snag any comics?… Hehe, okay-okay, I’ll try “Symphonia” then. Ah, my infinite list grows. But then again, can “infinite” get any bigger? Wait, scratch that, I don’t wanna be reminded of my frightful middle-school math-fair project on the different mathematical (Cantorian) orders of infinity, lol.

    @Both of you: Haha, hey A20-man, if u do inexplicably cross-dress, please keep in mind that Kris-chan may suddenly develop an inexplicable lesbian urge. LOL, sorry, couldn’t help it. ^o^

  26. Karas looked cool, but I couldn’t really connect with it either. At times it just felt like I was watching random scenes of coolness. Maybe if I watched it again, I could get the story, but the detachment I felt really doesn’t compel a second chance.

    Howl’s, like many Miyazaki movies in my opinion, needed about 2-3 more minutes. They always feel like…oh man, we’re behind schedule there’s no way we can animate all the remaining scenes, so we’ll cut these two scenes and end the story. I’m usually in love with all of them until the last three minutes.
    [rq=6730,0,blog][/rq]AnimeNEXT Blogging Panel

  27. @HappyRats: Great way to describe it, lol. But there’s a story. There’s just nothing or nobody in the story to bond with or connect with. Oh well, at least, it’s over… Meanwhile, there’s a definite bond with Sophie in “Howl”. Nahhh, I disagree a bit. Better to cut the ending a little short, than to draw it out too long. Or to have like 5 different endings. Or even worse, to have no conclusive ending at all? {Cough, cough} “Evangelion,” anyone? LOL.

    P.S. Hey, finally added your blog to my roll. Didn’t even realize it. I guess I assumed u were already on it. ^_^

  28. orz I wasn’t following up comments for this post. Apologies for the late replies!

    ToS is easily a good 1.5 hours, but it doesn’t fully finish the story :[ they never released the second set, which sucks -___-;; It’s better if you play the Gamecube game to fully understand everything. BUT! I love the characters!

    Sheena is really reminiscent of Misao from Rurouni Kenshin :3

    As for the seiyuu, Katsuyuki Konishi’s done work for Gurren Lagann as Kamina and Macross Frontier as Ozma Lee. If you also follow Axis Powers Hetalia, he does the voice for America and Canada, lol 8D

    Ai Orikasa’s done work for Tenchi Muyo! as Ryoko and Gundam Wing as Quatre. Both of their bios have a really long list of characters they’ve done in the past :3
    [rq=8057,0,blog][/rq]K-ON! episodes 6-9 screencaps

  29. @Lene-chan: Nahhh, no apologies necessary, lol. I mean, everyone has stuff to do IRL… Ehh, if “Symphonia” doesn’t finish some sort of story or even an alternate mini-story, then what’s the point? Hehe, why waste my time? Ah, Misao. Funny u should mention her. I’m on the final dozen episodes of “Kenshin – Season 3”. They have “Black Knights” back in 1998, lol. A full decade before the “Black Knights” in “Code Geass” or even “Chaos Head”! Do the Japanese have a fascination with Black Knights?… Awww, u didn’t have to give me a body of work for each seiyuu. While I like Aya Hirano, as well as the Japanese voice actors who do Alucard and Lelouch, I should’ve said that I *don’t* want to recognize their names. Cuz if I get to know them too well, then I’ll recognize them in anime more. And if I do that, I won’t enjoy the anime characters as original characters as much as I do. I mean, it’s annoying when I recognize English voice actors like Crispin Freeman, lol. I love his work, but when I recognize him everywhere, it gets annoying. Probably why I stick to the “unknown” Japanese audio, haha. >_<;

  30. @Jay: Haha, understandable. I get like that with a lot of seiyuu, too, like Mamoru Miyano. I see him in different roles and I can’t help but bust out laughing when he does a serious role (like Setsuna in Gundam 00) because his voice is so hilarious ;x


    @Dan: I’ve yet to pick up ToA again! Not too sure if I want to play that or Odin Sphere, though :o decisions, decisions.
    [rq=9297,0,blog][/rq]K-ON! episodes 6-9 screencaps

  31. @Dan-man: Yeah, the “Abyss” anime even feels like a game. Tightly woven story. Layered characters. Fascinating twists, lol. Not that I’d ever play the game. Me not a gaming guy.

    @Lene-chan: LOL, then again, u probably laughed during the saddest parts of “Clannad” and “Saikano”, didn’t u?

    @Both Dan-man & Lene-chan: With all the “K-On!” reviews you’ve been doing, u guys could write a book! Of course, I won’t be buying it. Amusing but forgettable. Besides, the pages might be a little rough for toilet paper, mwah-haha. ^_~

  32. @April-20th: Haha, cross-dressing for the fun of it? So is it true? Did Kris-chan already make use of your 2-of-3 butler-esque services?… Ahh, yup, the recycling of Black Knights, supernatural butlers, and guitar-strumming girls~~ further Omens of the Otakulypse? Or merely a tired-and-uninspired Japanese imagination? LOL.

  33. You’re most like Jade Curtiss because you’re the type of character that makes an 80 hour game worthwhile? You’re probably referencing his sarcastic humor though :P I played the game but I haven’t seen the anime. The first 40 hours were enjoyable, the last 40 I pushed myself to finish. But throughout the whole thing Jade was a great character and I wish his past had been explored even more. As for Howl’s Moving Castle I LOVED IT! It reminded me of the feeling I got from the Disney princess movies from the old days. I only recently realized that the story is actually based on a book! A book I recently purchased to see the original, I did the same for Coraline. With Coraline I actually decided that I prefer the movie.
    .-= lovelyduckie´s last blog > I’ve MOVED! =-.

  34. @Duckie-chan: Ahh, Duck-Duck-Duck-Duckie, if u only knew the tales of my elementary-school humiliation, high-school perfectionism, college mediocrity and self-exploration, marital evolution and disintegration, and post-divorce depression, self-confidence and re-discovery. Ah, such tales to tell! Plus logic and intellect, lol. Then perhaps, you’re right, I *would* be the “type of character that makes an 80-hour game worthwhile”. But sadly, no knowledge or skill in the fonic artes, lol. (Just the foosball arts here and there, lol.) Though the anime does portray quite a few flashback scenes into Jade’s troubled past. Ironically, one of my old AOL screen names was “Unjadedxxx” (where xxx is a secret)… Hehe, yeah, “Howl” was an unexpected surprise. Eh, but don’t worry about the existence of the book. I mean, I just saw the film a week ago! How late is that?!?

  35. @Jay:
    They can keep recycling supernatural butlers as long as they darn well please, as long as they’re all as sexy as Sebastian. :) I won’t mind at all!
    .-= Kris´s last blog > Paradise Kiss =-.

  36. These comments were amusing to read especially the one where it was mistaken that you were attracted to Jade Curtiss. Tales of the Abyss is the only game in my gaming history that’s caused extreme irritation and annoyance that wasn’t self-induced. As handsome as Luke is, he is one of the whiniest, little bitches that has ever been implemented in a video game. I was so put off to playing that game that on-hands game time didn’t surpass the 30-minute mark. After watching the anime, it has renewed my interest in playing this title with many of Luke’s bitching moments reduced to a significantly lesser amount. I like Jade Curtiss’ character a lot. His seiyu (sp) is fantastic and definitely one-of-a-kind. I think Tear is so gorgeous.

    Howl’s Moving Castle, from what I could remember, is excellent. Karas is a visually stunning anime and is pretty awesome, too. Perhaps, the dazzle factor is a bit much and it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on. Chaos Head seems interesting what with the unstable looking females and their oversized weapons.
    .-= Jem´s last blog > 1 year and 478 figures later… =-.

  37. @All-Toyboxers: My bowing apologies. Simply battling a dash of cubital tunnel syndrome. Gah.

    @A20-man: Haha, I hope so too. Or if not her fiance, then Sebastian should help her out immensely!

    @Kris-chan: LOL, more Sebastian? Then again, u know what they say: “Too much of a good thing…” LOL.

    @RyoBase-man: Or for cosplaying purposes, a nice piece of plexiglass design!

    @Jem-chan: Ahh, Jem-Jem-Jem-chan, where’ve ya been? Haha, I can’t imagine Luke being any more whiny or bitchy! The rare benefit of being a non-gamer? Hehe. But yeah, Jade definitely reflects the darker, colder, more logical, more sarcastic recesses of my personality. Although he should really see someone about upgrading his eyeglass frames!… Heyyy, I thought *my* speed-reviews were speedy. But your three-title “Howl’s Karas Head” assessment is an instantaneous lightspeed-review! Ahhh, girls with oversized weapons, can’t top that, lol. Well, maybe with whipped-cream topping.

  38. @Jay: Yes, yes. I miss you, too, dear. I am working 6 days a week with 5 of those days on an 11-hr work shift. I am running on reserves and having to deal with so much bullshit and work higher than my position. I am surely not pleased. It’s time like these that I just need a hug :{
    .-= Jem´s last blog > 1 year and 478 figures later… =-.

  39. @Duck-Duckie-chan: LOL, I haven’t seen “Porco Bacon” either. Or that cat-bus film. “Totoro Taco’s” something? Or “Kiki’s Pizza Delivery”? Gahhh, I’m still catching up on “Smallville 8” and “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles 2”.

    @Jem-Jem-chan: Aww, here’s another hug. {Hugs} While my work days can’t compare to yours, I’ve gotta keep track of 3 projects with the same exact deadline over the next few weeks. And battling a bout of cubital tunnel syndrome (from the tingling ring and pinky fingers to the twingey “funny bone” in the elbow) ain’t too pretty either. Luckily, they’re feeling better. Better enough for another major mega-cast? We’ll see, hehe…

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