Category: personal stuff

That 50 Questions Meme

I saw this meme, which apparently originated at Ace Railgun, over at Mainichi Anime Yume and Mono no Aware, and since I enjoy both reading and answering these types of questions, thought I’d do this as well. After all, as I’ve said before, blogging is all about saying “Me, too!”

1. Who is your favorite male anime character?

Kamina, that paragon of masculinity, from Gurren Lagann. I like strong, masculine characters, and his problem-solving method of total self-confidence and brute force is just so much fun to watch.

2. Who is your favorite female character?

It’s a tough call, but probably Triela, from Gunslinger Girl. She appears to be the oldest and most mature of the girls, and thus takes it upon herself to look after the rest. Her uncertain relationship with her handler also makes her and Hillshire the most interesting pair in the show.

3. What is your favorite anime soundtrack?

Evangelion 2.0, which I imported not too long ago. The battle themes especially, though I like almost every piece. I even learned to sing “Tsubasawo Kudasai.”

4. What is your favorite anime opening + animation?

The third opening to Goku Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.

5. What is your favorite anime ending song + animation?

Unlike openings, there aren’t many endings that I care for. I suppose season one of Spice and Wolf, though there’s not any actual animation. That or “Hare Hare Yukai,” from the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

6. What is your favorite anime scene?

A couple scenes come to mind, but I’d say the climax to Evangelion 2.0, when “Tsubasawo Kudasai” is playing. After a TV show and four films, we finally get to see Shinji man up, with beautiful animation, a very good song, and overall it’s just such a satisfying end to the film.

7. If you could meet an anime character who would it be?

If it’s just one meeting, I’d love to dance with Princess Tutu.

8. What anime character is most similar to you in terms of personality?

There’s no perfect matches, of course, but I’ve always identified a bit with Madarame, from Genshiken. His passion for his hobby, but also, unfortunately, his hesitancy in certain things, like moving on from college or telling his romantic interest his feelings.

9. What is your favorite thing about anime?

Creative animation. I love shows like FLCL or most anything directed by Shinbou Akiyuki that just go all-out on changing up styles, or tend towards abstraction. Basically, doing things that are impossible for live-action.

10. What is your least favorite thing about anime?

The obsession with high school settings.

11. Who are your favorite anime couple?

It’s not something I’ve really thought of before, but I’ll go with Lawrence and Holo from Spice and Wolf.

12. Who is your favorite anime animal?

Mesousa, who was the most entertaining part of Pani Poni Dash.

13. What anime would make a good game?

I don’t play video games anymore, so I don’t know and don’t really care.

14. What game would make a good anime?

I could see Final Fantasy VI working as a series. Again, though, I don’t really know.

15. What was the first anime you ever watched?

Pokemon.

16. Do you think you’ll ever stop watching anime?

I enjoy traditional animation, so I doubt it. If the West starts producing a lot more of it, I’d probably watch more of that than the Japanese, but that seems very unlikely at the moment.

17. What is your favorite genre of anime?

I watch a bit of everything so it’s hard to pick, but I do seem to watch more slice-of-life comedy than anything else.

18. What is your least favorite genre of anime?

I can’t think of any I’d refuse to watch, but I do try to avoid fanservice-heavy shows.

19. Are you open about watching anime with people you know?

Yes; over half the shows I watch, I’ve watched with my little sister. I’d also be willing to watch with any friends who’d be interested.

20. Have you ever been to Japan?

No, though I’d like to go someday.

21. What anime was the biggest let down for you?

His and Her Circumstances. I’d always heard it was really good, and the first few episodes lived up to that, but it really fell off a cliff. Same with the comic.

22. What anime was better than expected?

I don’t watch a show unless I think there’s some chance it’ll be good, so I don’t have a good answer. Cromartie High School is one I put off watching for a long time, and I’m kicking myself for not checking it out sooner.

23. What is the best anime fight scene?

Another one I’ve never really thought about, but I’ll go with one of Araragi and Mayoi’s scuffles from Bakemonogatari.

24. Who is your anime waifu?

Belldandy, from Oh, My Goddess!, who actually would be a perfect wife.

25. What was your favorite video game as a child?

Super Mario World is the one I played the most, so I’ll go with that.

26. Most embarrassing moment?

Though I’ve made a fool of myself many times, I don’t recall anything really worth sharing.

27. Can you drive? Do you own a car?

Yes and yes.

28. Are you mature?

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Anime Autobiography – Into the Bowels of College

<– Previous: Anime Autobiography – Anime Clubbin’

Going into 2007 and ’08, the combination of university, work, and commuting between them destroyed the vast amounts of free time I’d enjoyed in high school, though having my own car and a decent income for a college student did take some of the sting off that. My hobby of collecting hobbies, though, had to go. I dropped the time-consuming video games, especially the RPG’s I liked, as well as my attempt at learning to play guitar. Literature remained, and though I did as much leisure reading as I could manage, as a literature major I got most of my fill of that in class. Most of my leisure reading, in fact, consisted of graphic novels.…

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Anime Autobiography – Anime Clubbin’

<– Previous: Anime Autobiography: A Rental Hobby

I began university in Fall 2006, and lived on-campus the first semester. Very quickly, I joined two clubs – the Newman Club, where I’d spend most of my time, and of course the anime club. At the time, I don’t think I realised just how little anime I had actually seen, and though one of my roommates was also a fan, he was just a casual fan like me. So, now able to watch several different shows a week, my experience with anime would expand rapidly.…

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Anime Autobiography – A Rental Hobby

<– Previous: Anime Autobiography – serial experiments lain

Moving into 2005, though lain had inspired me to seek out more anime, I faced a couple roadblocks that prevented me from fully immersing myself right away. First, I lacked time. Though I had loads of free time in high school, I’ve long had a hobby of collecting hobbies, so anime had to compete with comics, video games, literature, guitar, film, and whatever else grabbed my interest.

Second, and more critically, I lacked funds. This was 2004-6, and most anime series came out on multiple discs, each costing at least $20, and I just could not afford spending that much, especially sight unseen. Many would’ve just pirated what they wanted to watch, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable with piracy. Besides, it would’ve been difficult to justify using up that much bandwidth on the family computer.…

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Anime Autobiography – serial experiments lain

<– Previous: Anime Autobiography – Pokemon and Spirited Away

Though I had already seen Pokemon and Spirited Away, I would consider serial experiments lain my ‘first’ anime, because it was the first show I sought out because it was anime. In October 2004, I worked my first job as a one-week temporary employee, for which I received the seemingly massive sum of around $350. I don’t remember what else I purchased with that bounty, but one of my first priorities was lain, which I think I ordered from Half.com (and which, I learned a couple years later, was bootleg!).…

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Anime Autobiography – Pokemon and Spirited Away

I’ve been in a bit of a nostalgic mood lately, looking back at my experience with anime and reminiscing on my development as a fan. So, I thought it may be interesting to start a series of posts outlining that evolution.

Like many fans my age, Pokemon gets credit as the first anime I ever watched. Actually, video games probably sparked my interest in Japanese media in general. As a huge Nintendo fan, most of my favourite games have always been Japanese, and even as a child I enjoyed reading about the people who made the games I enjoy, which made me amenable to other pieces of popular culture to cross the Pacific.…

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A Personal Reflection on 2011

Personal post, ahoy!

Around the new year, everyone seems to want to do a retrospective. Personally, I can’t quite do it, because I don’t remember all that happened this year and all my “best of 2011” choices would be things that came out in the last week. However, I have been reflecting on some of the highlights of 2011, and undoutdedly the highlight of the year was my trip to London in September. I only wrote one post about it, here, and that was on a different blog, but I can’t help but feel that it marked a milestone in my life.

For one thing, there were several setbacks. I’d originally planned on going to Europe in Spring with a friend of mine, but he backed out. So, I decided to go to Japan, and looked for a tour group. I was almost ready to sign up for one when the big earthquake and tsunami hit and cancelled that. So, after some thought, I decided to go to London, and go alone.

I haven’t travelled much before, and never alone. I’d been wanting to make a trip like this all through my time at university but lacked the resources to pull it off. Now, though, it felt somehow necessary, perhaps because of a string of disappointments. I graduated last August, but didn’t feel that I’d really accomplished anything. I signed up to take the GRE to go on to graduate school, but literally, in retrospect almost comically, couldn’t find the testing location. After that, I decided to apply to a programme to teach English in Japan, but couldn’t make the deadline. So, when I finally pulled this trip together, it gave me the biggest sense of satisfaction I’ve ever had.

As for the trip itself, I suppose I didn’t do anything spectacular. Mostly, I went museum-hopping, saw a play at Shakespeare’s Globe (Dr. Faustus), and did a little shopping, mostly at places like Orbital Comics. That, and watched some British televsion (better than American TV, but not by much).

However, I greatly enjoyed all that, and I also had a slight feeling of homecoming, even though I’m only 1/4 English, and those ancestors were from Birmingham (I am all Northern European, for what that’s worth). Seeing all that beautiful artwork, and simply being in a city so old – far older than anyplace in Texas – strengthened my feeling that Western Civilisation, and English culture specifically, is something worth preserving. It’s safe to say the trip strengthened my political feelings, but I’ll leave that Serious Business for another blog.

I would love to travel more in the future, and look forward to someday revisiting England. I’ll probably try to see more of the rest of the country if I go back, and probably won’t travel alone again. These things are more enjoyable when shared with someone.

Having finally accomplished something worthwhile, I feel like I can move on with the rest of my life. I’ve taken a step towards a career, for one thing, and I hope and pray things will continue to look up for me.

Now, though, it’s time to greet the new year, and I’ll do it the best way I know how – with catgirls.

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Post 100

This is post number 100 for ‘Everything is Oll Korrect!’, and it’s also been about a year since I registered this domain. I have mixed feelings about the relevance of the landmark – though ‘OK!’ has been around a lot longer than most blogs (since Autumn 2007), it’s been mostly an on-again off-again affair since its beginning as a school project. Only this year have I taken this at all seriously, and only the the past half-year have I begun to find a voice, so to speak.

The biggest change is that for most of this blog’s history I tried to take an academic tone. Gradually, though, I shifted to something a little more personal – and, though I mostly write impressions and reviews of what I read and watch, I think of this blog as very much a personal project. I’ve found that writing about my impressions helps immensely in clarifying my thoughts, and I can better appreciate the media I consume.

I do hope, though, that my enthusiasm for writing and my subjects comes through, and I’m thankful for those who have stopped by and read my blog. I have some plans for this site that I should be able to execute over the next several weeks, including making some progress on the Zetsubou-Sensei fansite, continuing to post regularly on the “America First” blog, and a redesign and possibly renaming this blog. Please look forward to it.

Now, it’s getting late, and I’ve a lot of writing and reading to do!

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On Learning Japanese

If any doubted it, let me clarify: learning a foreign language is a pain. Yet, I consider having a working knowledge of a second language essential for an educated person. So, for the last few years I’ve been attempting to learn Japanese.

Luckily, I was able to take two years of it at my university (one of the few educational benefits my school provided), so I do have a good feel for basic grammar and vocabulary. After graduation, though, I came upon the problem of expanding on and maintaining what I’ve learned. As anyone who’s taken a foreign language class knows, language is very much a ‘Use it or lose it’ proposition. Even over the course of summer break after year one, I lost enough that my reaction to seeing the next semester’s review was something like ‘It’s bloody Chinese!’

Anyway, half the endeavour depends on continuing to review daily. I’ve done pretty well with that. However, my learning has been haphazard at best. Mainly, I’ve just tried to read whatever I can get my hands on, often from YesAsia.com or whatever random volumes happen to turn up at Half Price Books (like volume eight of Death Note, and volumes eleven and seventeen of Oh, My Goddess!). Yotsubato! is written at about my level, which makes me very happy. I can read Japanese better now than a year ago, but obviously that approach is generally slow and, again, haphazard.

So, for the sake of adding some kind of structure to my study, I bought a copy of James Heisig’s oft-recommended Remembering the Kanji. Mr. Heisig’s unique approach to learning kanji, the bane of every Japanese language student’s existence, involves focusing just on how to write the characters and remembering a single keyword meaning for the first two thousand or so kanji, then remembering complex kanji by creating mnemonic stories based on the simpler components many caracters are composed of. It sounds a bit gimmicky, but so far has worked very well for me (I’ve done the first 550 or so characters), especially coupled with the flash card programme Anki and the new official RtK iPhone app.

So, onward I go. Someday, someday, I’ll be able to read serious business Japanese literature. It’s a goal, at least.…

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Academic Influences

Back in my freshman year at university, a professor asked us to write a short paper on our greatest academic influence. I chose St. Thomas Aquinas, but like most eighteen year olds I didn’t have much to say at the time, since lower education focuses primarily on teaching fundamentals, and not so much evaluating and forming a worldview. I’ve thought about the question occasionally since then, as I’ve encountered several works that have given a much more definite shape to my ideas, making them more like a finished vessel than the pre-college mound of clay (not that there isn’t still plenty of room for refinement, of course). Recently, I’ve given the question some more thought, and decided it may be useful to consider what works have given the most shape to how I view the world around me.

Such an endeavour may, perhaps, turn into a series of posts largely praising famous men, but to that I’ve no objection. Modernity may praise the new and the individual above the old and the traditional, but I believe that most of what a man learns in his life he learns from other men. To hit a ‘reset’ button on human knowledge every generation seems hugely wasteful, when generations who’ve gone before have written down so much for our benefit. Indeed, a respect, even a love for tradition forms the great common thread among all of the men I can think of who’ve inspired me so far, men like Confucius, St. Thomas Aquinas, or Ezra Pound.

So, this is my project for the next couple weeks – to outline where I am now, and how I got to this point.

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.” – Deut. 32:7

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