Nurarihyon no Mago – Spoiler

If you thought any franchise is safe from my shipping madness, you’re dead wrong! Either way, I’ve finally finished this manga. Took me long enough… What can I say? It’s a solid shounen, some nice ideas with the Yokai, I really liked it. However, aside from the actual, you know story, which was quite nice with the backstory of Hagorome Gitsune and Rikous parents and everything, but of course for my shipping heart, what made me the happiest were the omakes. One very specific omake.

First things first: tumblr_m45o48EPX71qemtuko1_r1_500 The last omake “Tsurara’s Love Comedy” heavily impies TsuraraxRikuo, which is quite nice of a change from the usual pattern of only having one love intererst. If you really want to, you can read a bit into some actions in the manga here and there as well, but this omake was clearly the strongest hint. Why? Because Rikuo nearly kissed her. On his own! Holy!

In the beginning of the manga Kana was portayed as Rikuos main love interest, even though Tsurara as been sown having a crush on him from the start as well, so it’s some kind of weak love-triangle. I’m saying “weak”, because it’s never really played out that much and it doesn’t really come to a conclusion either. If I remember correctly Rikuo doesn’t even say straight out that his interest in Kana has faded and instead he’s getting more interested in Tsurara.

And this is so great! I hate overly dramatic love triangles. Watashi ni XX Shinasai, anyone? That manga hurts, but I guess that’s what we’re in a shounen for… OH wait, there’s Naruto with the Sasuke x Sakura x Naruto x Hinata thing going on and don’t forget the infamous and heavly feared fan war about IchixHime vs IchixRuki during Bleach’s best days. Thank every God there is this entire love stuff wasn’t pushed too hard in NuraMago, which is interesting, because a good portion of the conflict comes from the old geezer’s and Rihan’s past romantic relationships and one goal of the manga was to break the fox curse.

To come to the point, I hated the Kana x Rikuo ship, because it was just threre to be… there and Kana was only there to be Rikuo’s love interest and that does not make good characters. I still think throughout the entire manga straight until the very end, Kana was too perfect. I can’t stand these super sweet girls, that’re supposed to be very likable, but end up entirely useless and boring. I mean, even the comedic relief character Kiyotsugu ended up being very useful at some points and the other two girls were at least funny here and there. In the end, they rounded everything up with all of Rikuo’s friends being very important to him, because they’re his connection to humans. By the way, this only sounds nice as long as you don’t think about the lifespan of a yokai compared to a human and even though Rikuo is only 1/4 yokai, it is implied in the manga that he will live a lot longer than an average human. His father was 1/2 yokai and about 5000 years old when Rikuo was born. It’s safe to say Rikuo will probably live a few thousand years and this means, he will see his precious friends die.

Back to the shipping. Since the manga only shows Rikuo in middle school and with a possible interest in Tsurara as a romantic partner, I would love to see a continuation of the manga during their the High School days. Or a short series what’ll happen with adult Rikuo and his children, like Naruto Gaiden. I always think it’s very satisfying to get a short glimps of the character’s lives after the main events have ended and how they have settled down and chose to live their lives. It’s very common in Shoujo manga to skip foward a few years and show the wedding with all the characters as guests and give a short overview what they’re doing now, if they have children on their own and so on and I really like that. It doesn’t even need to be much, in Fullmetal Alchemist it was just one page, one wonderful page showing all the main characters in the future. Wouldn’t you want to see Rikuos child? Especially since in the other omake, they were talking about a 4th heir and marrige, I sure would love to.

Italy – the Winner of Hearts / Eurovision Song Contest – the Grand Final

So… I guess if you loose, you’ve got to do it right and walk out of it with 0 points together with the host. On a brigther note, the german and austrian contestants are planning on making music together now, because they came to like each other so much. That’s… good news, I guess?

I’m super happy for Belgium and Latvia for walking out of the contest with two very modern and unique songs so successfully. I mean: 4rth place and 6th place? Can’t complain about that. =D

So, let’s talk a bit about the voting. I took a quick look and here’s what I noticed: In case of Germany, the jury-voting seemed to be better than the televoting. However, if it had been only televoting, we would’ve still walked away with at least 5 points and a 25th place, so I guess we do have some friends in Europe left after all. And the host? Still last with 0 points. Ouch.

Now, here’s another interesing piece of information: If the contest would’ve been 100% televoting, the clear winner would’ve been… Italy with a full 80 points ahead of second place Russia. That’s right, the oh-so-loved Sweden, would’ve been thrid. So basically the juries made Sweden win. In the full split result chart you’ll notice the jury-votes for Italy are shockingly low compared to the televoting results. Nice and bitter taste, isn’t it?

Yeah, I’m not really happy with the overall winner, even more so since it’s a jury winner on top of that. I really liked the russian entry, because I think it’s a very well performed awesome power-ballad, but I wouldn’t have wanted Russia to hold the next contest considering the more recent law changes and overall anti-tolerant direction the country is taking. This is not the artists fault and I still love her singing, I just don’t want Eurovision in Russia right now. A few years ago it was all right and maybe in a few years it’ll be all right again, but not right now. Please don’t take this the wrong way.

Either way, why is it I’m not that happy with the overall winner Sweden? Well, for once Sweden already won 2012 and that was just 3 years ago and now we’re already going back there. Sweden has as many wins as Ireland now and I think a contest is boring if one contestant is dominating too much, like Ireland was 30-20 years ago.

The other thing is… I think Måns Zelmerlöw is too perfect. The song, the performance, the guy himself – everything is calculated to win, like a cardboard cutout, and it was successfull. Sure, if Sweden wants to win the ESC so bad, they can pour that much enery in it to produce the picture perfect Eurovision song/singer/performane, they are free to do so, but I don’t have to like that. I like the quirky entries more, the unusual ones. I still like Seriba best! I totally overlooked Italy, though, and they blew me away in the final, awesome surprise.

About the voting system: I think it’s problematic the way it’s done right now. I mean, it’s a good idea to have a jury to counter the inevitable blockvoting, but the juries themselves are usually just random musicians. I mean, how about you have “real” juries with people who actually really know their stuff about music, who seriously studied music or something.The juries should vote for the music, the performance, the package and not against televoting, something that is happening on purpose. I’m actually not quite sure if I wouldn’t like to try an ESC on televoting alone – since Italy would’ve won, you can’t really argue the eastern European countries would dominate too much, would you?

And about Blockvoting: Sweden got 12 points from all scandinavian countries – Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Sure, to win you need 12 points from other countries as well, but if that’s not a prime example of block voting, then what is? And when the easter european countries do this, people are so enraged they favor their neighbors, but when scandinavia does it, nobody bats an eye. Double standart at it’s finest.

And Australia? They did great, walked away with a 5th place and a nice song. To win the song was too… soft I guess. It’s a great mainstream pop-song, but it’s too clean and flat I guess. For winning, it would’ve needed a few more high points I guess? This is a song that does well in charts and on the radio, but that doesn’t mean it’ll win the ESC. Still a great song, though and I think it’s a bit sad Australia has to leave the Eurovision-circus already. Awesome guest entry, though. Keep the good mood up, Kiwis! =)

And lastly, the contest was so serious this year it was way close to actually resembling a cultural event, too close for my taste. Israel with their “Golden Boy” rescued the Grand Final. So, for 2016 how about we go back to our fun and crazy ESC that we love, instead of falling asleep after the 20th ballad?

Eurovision Song Contest 2nd Semifinal

And the drama continues. I mean… really, that was ballad overkill. From a musical point of view, I guess the second semifinl was better than the first, but there were so many “okay” ballads. They were allright, but not that outstanding. I still think Seriba, Russia and Spain have the best ballads. I do really like Norway as well, through.

As expected Azerbaijan was doing well once again and went on to the final. They’ve been doing really good ever since they started competing, but that doesn’t change the fact that their winning song a few years ago is still probably my least favorite of their entries.

So, how about my favorits this time around:

Norway. A really dark song, it’s a ballad, but most of the entries were anyway, so what’s so choose from… either way, at least it’s not the average I love you-I miss you song.

Sweden. Very strong again this year and I guess it was a huge relieve to hear something that’s not a ballad every once in a while. Nice song, nice guy, nice visuals, I take it. However, I do not want him to win (he’s currently leading the bets), simply because Sweden already won the Contest only 3 years ago and it would be nice to go somewhere else.

Latvia. Now that was different! Not too much dubsteb to be unlikable for the wide audience, but enough to give it a unique touch between all the classic ballads of that evening. It left a great impression on me, I even voted for her. =)

Slovenia. Just a really nice song, I guess. It’s a shame they start first in the final, that basically already rules you out for the crown.

So, after the two semi-finals, who am I rooting for the most? Belgium, Serbia and Spain. I One of these three and I’m happy.

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 1st Semifinal

It’s time once again, for the worlds biggest song contest and of course I’m watching. After the amazing win from Dragqueen Conchita Wurst for Austria, the 60th ECS is held in the beautiful city of Vienna this year.

What do I like about the contest? Well, it’s crazy and you do have the occasional artist who actually can sing, but this doesn’t mean this person also has to win. It’s not always about the song, it’s also about performance, about current political activities and who you’re friends with. Yes, “blockvoting” is a thing, it’s no secret Russia and Belarus or Cyprus and Greece always give each other 12 points and it’s no secret the scandinavians give each other high points on a regular basis. However, even though this is very much the realitiy of Eurovision, every once in a while a country wins that doesn’t benefit from, blockvoting or buddy-voting and every once in a while some winners are a true statement of progress – like Conchita’s victory.

So, what about the first Semifinal. It was… rather… unspectacular, for Eurovisionstandarts. Sure, there was Finland with their rock band, but what else really stood out? Where was the Verka Serduchka of this year? Or the Buranovskiye Babushki? Or the Zdob şi Zdub? This is the best part of Eurovision: the fun part! Come on guys, unlike Australia, we’ve been doing this for long enough to know you don’t send artists with a career.

Australia? Yes, because the Kiwis like it so much and have been proven our most passionate non-european-fans, they got a wild card for the 60th anniversary and are sending Guy Sebastian, who’s petty famous in Down Under… and is actually a pretty damn good musician. Let’s see how he’ll do. By the way, if Austalia wins, they will be invited next year again, but the contst will be held in a european country.

My favorites from the first semifinal:

First was Belgium, it was fresh and modern, I really liked that. Loïc Nottet seems to be a sympathic guy and it was well performed. Besides, it really stood out in the Eurovision Ballad Contest.

Estonia. Simply a good and well performed song. Easy to listen to and probably the best duet I’ve heared in Eurovision for a long time. Way to go!

Russia with an amazing ballad. I’m not going to comment on the fact that Russia sends a love-and-piece song (a very popular theme this year), I’m just going to say it was much better than I expected it to be. Polina Gagarina belted her song through and left me speechless. Great artist, well performed song. And no boos this year! This just shows how great of an artist Polina is. (last year, the russian duo was booed heavily due to Russias part in the Ukraine conflict)

Seriba! This was actually my favorite. It’s the full package: a truly awesome artist (I mean, seriously, this woman can sing), a nice message (“I’m different and that’s ok”) and the song suddenly changes from Power Ballad to Balkan-Party-Techno. Sounds weird, but is a lot of fun, I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do.It’s anything but boring.

By the way, Greece had a great Ballad as well, but Russia left a bigger impression on me. Who’s also in with a breathtaking Power Ballad is Spain. I wouldn’t be surprised if they win this year, their song is absolutely outstanding and performed by a professional musical singer. And it shows! Go Spain! 😀 Besides, I would love to see a song win that’s not in English.

Nintendo World Championships

logo-championshipsAfter 25 years, the Nintendo World Championships will be revived at E3 2015… sounds awesome right? Excpet, it isn’t. At least not for me, because I live in Germany. That’s in Central Europe and that’s apparently in outer space or something, because I can’t participate.

Here’s the thing: You can only quality at 8 locations in the US and I’m not planning on flying across the globe for that, I don’t have that much money. I know this might be very nitpicky, but if you make this an US-exclusive event… you know, you probably don’t want to call it “world championships”, because that includes the world.

When I first heared about it, I expected something like prelimitaries in all the regions where Nintendo products are sold, but instead it’s just the US. Great. I get that this event is held at E3 and that it’s probably sponsored my NoA exclusively, but I still feel kind of cheated out of this.

We live in 2015, where everyone can talk to other people across the globe whenever he likes. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been, thanks to the internet we have access to every place in the world with an internet connection. I’m not even saying Nintendo should’ve held the prelimitaries as online tournaments, I’m just saying we live in a day and age, where saying “the world” actually means the entire world and not just the US.

Dear Nintendo, would you please hold actual World Championships next time? Preferably not in 25 years.