May the Obsession be with You!

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Latimer: We’ve both mentioned before that we are fan-girls.

We get obsessed about certain things very quickly and have done for years. Because of that we have a waste land in our hearts of broken down, forgotten obsessions – the ones that got away, or atrophied due to lack of obsessive energy. But sometimes… sometimes you aren’t as free from an obsession as you think you are! They can come back.

I used to be a massive Star Wars fan.

Back when I was, there was only the original trilogy; the prequels hadn’t come out yet. I would obsessively watch Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (my favourite) over and over again (on cassette). And if I could have back then, I would have bought lots of Star Wars junk, but it wasn’t really an option – cos, no internet buying and no money!

Reminiscing MLR style
Reminiscing MLR style

When news of the prequels came out, I bought the script book/story boards for the first movie before it came out (I don’t know why they released it!).

I read it and was really looking forward to seeing the movie (still a fan!) then I saw it and… yeah, it’s really bad. Although I still went to see Attack of the Clones and the last one (which wasn’t bad, actually). But by that point the obsession had run its course with me and I haven’t seen Star Wars in years.

Now we’re all getting news of forthcoming new Star Wars movies, which are going to be about Luke, Leia and Han. I don’t think my broken down obsession is going to suddenly revive, but I am looking forward to seeing JJ Abrahams take on Star Wars, he did such a good job with Star Trek!

Check out the fan-made posters for the new movies HERE!!

It’s going to be an interesting cinematic few years!

Are you excited about seeing new Star Wars? Or have you been recalling any old obsessions lately 🙂

Latimer watches… Spirited Away

I want my own Kohaku dragon... just like I wanted a Luck dragon... when will I get a dragon?!
I want my own Kohaku dragon… just like I wanted a Luck dragon… when will I get a dragon?!

Latimer: On Christmas Day, Spirited Away popped up on my television screen like the ghost of Christmas past. I paused in my chocolate-coma induced mindless channel hopping and smiled. It had been a long time since I saw Chihiro and Kohaku. Then I frowned remembering my fan-girl grudge against this movie.

It was the start of the movie and despite my grudge (which will become apparent), I decided this would be a nice movie to sit down and watch. On the first break, I went out to the kitchen to make some tea and about 30 minutes passed by – the Christmas Day time vortex appeared. It’s the weirdest day of the year where time speeds up; when even getting some tea manages to turn into twelve other things that zap all the time away.

I never got back to Spirited Away that day. But it popped up again recently, urging me to confront my grudge.

Jumping briefly into the ‘way-back machine’ of nostalgia, I remember when this movie came out (13 years ago this year). Spirited Away was the first anime I’d seen that had a proper Japanese feel to it; from the moment Chihiro and her family step into the spirit world town, you get immersed in the Japanese-ness of it all, the food, the mythology (radish spirit?! Really?! That’s cool…!)

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 Spirited Away was also the first anime I saw subbed (it was an extra on the DVD). I was a fool and turned up my nose and stuck with the English dubbed version at that point though (damn fool Latimer!).

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 I love the feel of Spirited Away, the view into Japanese culture and mythology.

Not sure what sort of spirit they are but they are kawaii ne?
Not sure what sort of spirit they are but they are kawaii ne?

The animation is wonderful too. There’s the wonderful, beauiful moment where Chihiro is crying, falling through the air with Kohaku, and her tears are breaking off the little mouse and bird.

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The story between Kohaku and Chihiro is so sweet and lovely… and well, that’s where my ‘grudge’ comes in….I always have this moment of sighing sadly at the end, when Chihiro leaves Kohaku…. I am a fan-girl, so of course I would be frowning at this!

The ending is a bit ambiguous; you can read what you like into it. Hayao Miyazaki (the creator of Spirited Away) said that Chihiro has lost her memories after leaving the spirit world.

This time, I watched it I came to my own conclusion (after, what 10 years or so? ha). When Chihiro leaves Kohaku, she asks, ‘will we meet again?’ and he promises that they will. And then she’s gone. I block out having read once that there’s one way of looking at this; Kohaku is a spirit and so, Chihiro will meet him again when she dies and becomes a spirit…

Okay, that’s too sad, so this is the way I choose to look at it! Kohaku also says in the subbed version that, ‘I’ll go back to my world’ – which means that the spirit world might not be his world after all. He saved Chihiro when she fell into the river when she was a child, so to me, it means he’s going back to being a river god – and where are the rivers – in Chihiro’s world (if he saved her before in her own world, then that’s the world he belongs in).

Got my fangirl mojo back!!
Got my fangirl mojo back!!

 As to memory loss… hmm, well she still has her magical hair tie in the end (which holds ‘everyone’s feelings’) – so I’m not worried about that 🙂 Thinking of this as the ending makes this ending nicer to me after all these years; I think I’m letting go of my grudge at last!

Ah, ambiguous endings – are they a pain or a pleasure?

Manga and Me

I'm a manga nut and I'm okay!!
I’m a manga nut and I’m okay!!

Latimer: I’m a bit of a manga nut.

I really adore them. They are also the means through which I’ve developed, rightly or wrongly, my view of Japanese, and to some degree Korean, culture!

I’m a fangirl, so I love shoujo – the girly manga! I love the ones set in schools; the drama between the school president and the yankee, or the shy girl and the cool guy.

In Korean ‘shoujo’ manhwa there’s always (ALWAYS) a jjang (leader of the gang), in the story. Sometimes it’s the girl, and sometimes it’s the boy. So again, I know I’m misguided, but I just assume in every Korean high-school there are warring factions of gangs, and everyone can fight and kick-ass! And everyone is angry… so angry!

I wouldn’t be able to hide my disappointment if I turned up (very randomly) at a Korean high-school and I wasn’t caught in a show-down between two rival gangs from opposing schools. Even though I don’t speak the language, I’d know… I’d just know what was going on. I’d know the first jjang had kissed the other jjang’s sister, or belittled her… and I’d stand there fists waving in the air screaming.

“Oh it’s on! FIGHTING”

Then if I ended up at a Japanese high-school, I’d be looking for the yankee (the bad boy, delinquent) and the bookish girl – or the tsundere (initially cold character who shows their good side in time – a staple of the shoujo!) school president and the silly, but kind-hearted girl… and I’d be chuckling to myself thinking; “Oh how is this going to turn out!”

It's Yank-mee!! Nani TEME!!
It’s Yank-mee!! Nani TEME!!

Ah, manga (and manhwa), you really distort reality for me (but in a way that makes me so happy)! Reading them is a roller-coaster ride of emotions!

Pandora Hearts, confuses me, makes me gasp in awe, then confuses me again…

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Naruto always makes me emotional – it’s the best manga for making you empathize with the baddies, because they were good once… or they have these tear-inducing back-stories…

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Kamisama Hajimemashita makes my fangirl squee – such a lovely romance story! 

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Tomoe is a Kitsune (fox) demon – not a vampire (though it looks that way here!) …. Anyway, I’m off on Cloud Squee!

Anything by Minami Maki will make me laugh and wait desperately for the next chapter; her stories and artwork are sweet and cute and hilarious…

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Then, recently (and as it’s a week for pets!), I came across this webcomic (they seem to be v.popular in Korean – at least to my untrained eye). It’s called My Young Cat and My Old Dog (by Cho) and it is… wonderful…

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If you have a pet, it will make you cry.

At times the issue/episode/chapter is about the young playful pet and all the silly things they do. Then at times it’s about the old pet, who isn’t quite as fast as they used to be, or sleeps more than they used to. It’s those one’s that grab your heart and squeeze the feels out, leaving you gasping and in tears (I am an emotional being!).

I'm 16 years old 1 im 16 I'm 16 years old 2I have an old, old dog, and those episodes make me pause and think of him 😦

Well, but there’s lots of joy to be had in the series too, things that make you remember how wonderful your pet is. How selfless and how they love you unconditionally; they love you for you, no other reason and we love them too..

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Ah, manga and manhwa, you give me so many different feelings – and I love you for it 🙂

Sleep vs. Book: the cost of addiction

Latimer: Two nights in a row I’ve been up until 1.30am. And that’s not good when you have to get up at 7am!

I ended up watching episode 2 of Game of Thrones on Tuesday night. It was pretty crap actually- too much talking and gratuitous sex. My flatmate (Orbie) made a very good point about the sex, “why is it never the ones we want to see naked?”

“Fair point,” I said. “Like Robb Stark.”

Orbie nodded, “And Jon Snow- the hottest things in the show.”

Silently, I nodded, this is true, but then I chirped up, “And Jaime Lannister?”

She didn’t reply. Is it just me? I’m going to wait for Ridley to shoot me down on that (I don’t expect her to, but the heart of a woman is a fickle thing. We find beauty in strange places at times and expect others to loudly declare they are sisters in arms with us, when in actuality they look at us with scorn and reproach! But then in turn, we’ll do the same thing when they come forward and admit their guilty pleasure!).

Anyway, so we watched Game of Thrones.

Then, I headed to bed to finish reading Book 2 of the Hunger Games (it wasn’t my intention initially to finish it, but that’s what happened- like a crack addict I OD’d on reading). I stumbled, bleary-eyed to the bathroom at 1am (1 chapter left at this point). As I passed Orbie’s room, the light was on (this was weird). “Hmm,” I thought. Then shrugged, stumbling back to my room to finish gobbling down Book 2.

I woke up the next morning in a hazy half-dream state. I thought I was in the games for a minute, in some weird trippy after-effects of late-night reading. I shook my head and struggled off to make my breakfast. It was a while before Orbie materialised, clawing her way out of her room like a drunk, doped-up koala. She stood blinking in the kitchen, “I’m so tired!” she moaned. “My eyes are burning! I can’t keep them open!”

I nodded, munching my toast. “Hmm, I know what you mean I was up last night reading.” Pause. “What time did you go to bed at?”

“2am!” she cried, using her fingers to hold her eyes open.

“What were you doing?” I inquired. My mind connecting the dots… I wondered….

“Reading.”

“What?” I pressed.

“Hunger Games Book 2!” she said with a sheepish smile, as if I would shoot her down.

“I knew it! Me too,” I squealed.

I told her I’d been up the previous night too. She asked if I had the one’s with the crap, horrible, garish covers (yes).

She scowled, “Those covers make it look like you are reading a kids book about aliens.”

I told her about how Ridley and I had gone to the bookshop after the movie (I’ll set the scene: movie ends, Ridley turns, a knowing smile on her face; “bookshop” she asks, but it’s not really a question. I squeal like a child on too much sugar “YEEY!”- she knows me too well).

Orbie levelled a knowing look at me, “I told you, you would like it” (she had seen the film the previous week and told me, “you’d like it; it’s very good”).

I sigh, “Yeah, yeah, you and Ridley!”

Then, Orbie and I stumbled off our separate ways to work.

I’m saving Book 3 for the weekend. I have it under lock and key. I have to, I need sleep!

My name is Latimer and I’ve been Hunger Games free since 1.30am on Wednesday.