Quick update

So… It’s been a while.

I moved, got my own place now, one of my guinea-pigs got severly ill and had to be humanely euthanized eventually. I got a dwarf hamster and a new castrated male g-pig 3 weeks ago as company for my two girls, one of which was diagnosed with a tumor in her uterus and it’s inoperable and doesn’t look very friendly, so who knows how long she’ll still be alive. And we just had a damn hot summer, a very long very hot summer. It was bad.j008

Now, what happened manga-wise in this time? We got a whole bunch of new 10 Dance chapters, which I very much approve of. Those two are just too sexy for my own good, even though the past chapters have been lacking spices a little bit. It does seem as if both of them are comming to terms with it and it starts developing into something you could call a relationship of some sorts, which is great. We got kisses. Kisses are good. Shinya in beast mode is even better. Someone seriously doesn’t want 3rd place, he’s out for the crown and I can’t wait to see him kill this competition.

What else? Skip Beat had a tiny bit of progress for once, I was just hoping for a little bit more on the romance front, specifically between Ren and Kyoko. At least Kyoko got the part, but I can’t get over the fact that we still don’t know what Ren got her for white’s day and Kyoko is actually very very much despressed, because she still believes she’s only one who didn’t get anything and that’s freaking cruel. And now there’s the love triangle thingy with these other two actresses… yeah, as if. It’s been established ages ago that Ren is in love with Kyoko and vice versa, but why not add some more drama so we can stretch it out more? Great idea, right? Right? RIGHT?

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Ballroom e Youkoso has successfully finished it’s anime run and successfully avoided publishing a single new chapter. Unfortunately this seems to be due to the heath problems of the manga-ka, which was also the reason for the previous rather long hiatus of this manga. I’m honestly concerned about her, it seems to be bad… Let’s hope she makes a full recovery. I mean, it’s unfortunate for the manga, but her health comes first. I do approve of the the very strong TataraxChii vibes in the last episodes of the anime. Chii-chan is best girl and Tatara better keeps her, because sure as hell he won’t find a better one.

Daiya no Ace Act II finally has Sawamura actually looking like he might become the ace. 75f828c78b9313328431e33a7ea0f26b.gifFinally. Have we ever seen so much praise for him in-universe? I don’t know. However, since Furuya is now back, it’s going to be a little bit more rocky, but I still have my hopes up. Especially since this is pretty much his last chance to be the ace in a battery with Miyuki, who’s the reason he came to Seido to begin with. I stand by my word it completely defies the purpose if Sawamura becomes ace after Miyuki left. There’s no point if Sawamura doesn’t become the ace in a battery with Miyuki. It has to be Miyuki. I know I’m a bit of a Miyuki-fangirl and Okumura is an interesting catcher… he ain’t no Miyuki, though. And before anyone asks: yes, I may or may not have read quite a few too many Misawa fanfictions. I highly recommend anything by Kittebasu on Ao3.

Otoyomegatari is going very strong, as expected, even though I’m missing Amir and Karluk, but I’m keeping my hopes up they’ll be back. I think it’s quite cute Mr Smith has found love and a wonderful soon-to-be-bride. I can’t believe this manga has been running for 10 years now, that’s crazy. I’ve been following it for such a long time now, I remember it was still fairly new when I started. Mori Kaoru is one of the best out there in my opinion.

I’m very much disappointed there hasn’t been anything new Yuri on Ice, because I miss my cute gay babies so much. Now that the hype has slowed down a lot, the anime has seen a lot more negative backlack. Well, yes of course there’s more than enough fanservice and yes there’s fujioshi bait, but there’s still a damn great romance story in there that sets a great example in how homosexual relashionships should be treated: normal. And the sports ain’t too bad either. Besides… sexy Victor is sexy. I know Yuri with his hair styled back in sexy mode is nothing to look away from, but Victor is just Victor. And talking about Victor, the announced movie (set to air 2019…), seems to be about him judging by the announcement teaser, which is definately needed. The TV-show went deep into Yuri, but he haven’t really seen that much background on Victor. I just hope it’s not entirely set in the past and we get to see some present stuff, too… namely some Victuuri cuteness.

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There’s much more to talk about, but it’s getting late and I still need to feed the guinea-pigs, so we’ll end it here.

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Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Hokkaido-hen (spoilers)

KenshinOne question: HOW in the world didn’t I know there’s an actual sequel to Rurouni Kenshin? Not a side story, not a one-chapter-special, but an actual sequel? 18 years after Kenshin was wrapped up, there’s a sequel?

Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan was the very first manga I was seriously obsessed about. I don’t remember my first manga, it was something I borrowed from my older bother. The first manga I ever owned was Ghost in the Shell. If that’s not a great starting point I don’t know what. The first manga I ever seriously started fangirling about was Kenshin and let’s be honest: it’s a damn great shounen manga with some very strong and memorable character developments and amazing fights, it still stands as one of my favorite shounen.

Yes, I know, my favorite shounen is Fullmetal Alchemist, because that manga is nothing but outstanding, but Kenshin still holds his own. Some of my other favorite shounen are Slam Dunk, Rough, Gunnm and Trigun. Yeah… I’m loving the classics and among all of Kenshin2them Kenshin will always have a special place in my heart.

Now, how do I feel about the sequel? A part of me is super excited and another part of me not happy at all. Of course more Kenshin is good, but on the other ahnd the manga was finished and I mean completely finished. It had an ultimate ending point, it wrapped everything up and left the reader with an actual ending. FMA did the same, it’s just finished. Open endings or vague endings or soemthing else, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary to open up a book again and force some more pages into it, when it was already closed.

On the other hand, I can’t deny I’m incredibly excited about the sequel. That was until I read Nobuhiro Watsuki was arrested, because he violated the laws regarding child pornography. Oh dear. No denying, that’s bad. I mean, really REALLY bad. This is so bad I’m surprised Kenshin Hokkaido will actually continue to be published after the hiatus. Does this change my view on Kenshin as a whole? Definately not, because the manga by itself is still as good as it was before.

After having read the first 3 chapters of the Hokkaido sequel, I think they’re pretty well done, but there’s continuity problems, like Kenshin’s hair back to being super long and how he gets his blade back kind of destroys the moment in the prequel when he gives it away. I mean, he basically gave it away only to get it back 6 monthes later, because Yashiro decides it’s not for him and it will take him too long to master. I know they needed a reason to give Kenshin back his sword, because Kenshin and his sword belong together, but it just makes giving it away in the first place so pointless.

Another thing I really disliked was the implied soon death of Kenshin. I know this is nothing new as it has been implied numerous times in the prequel that Kenshin has a shortened life span due to his swordsmanship and stuff. And we also know the manga MangaKenshinBrokencan be very very tragic to it’s characters so I wouldn’t even be surprised if the intended ending of the Hokkaido sequel involves Kenshin’s death. Just because I know all of that doesn’t mean I’m emotionally capable of accepting Kenshin’s death. I just really don’t want him to die. He’s a character who’s seen so much and who’s been through so much, he just deserves his happy ending and he deserves it to be as long as possible. Taking Kenshins Happy Ending from him by killing him is just too cruel. I’m okay with him living in peace together with Kaoru and their child and everything being roses and cute flying angels around him. I’m not okay with him dying.

I’m still traumatized my the ending of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (seriously, how can you be so cruel to a character?), I can’t take a cruel ending for Kenshin, he doesn’t deserve it. Even though he himself probably doesn’t see his death that way.

Also, yeah, I see why Yahiko is not joining them on their journey and it seems like he’s building his own life and this is great, but I just can’t imagine a Kenshin manga without Yahiko. He was part of the key cast. And talking about the key cast: HELL YES Sano is Kenshin Sanoback, man! I was so waiting for him to appear. Can’t wait to see him.

Last but not least, when Kenshin and Yahiko were wondering how Kaoru knew Kenshin’s stamnia was going down, even though she never crossed blades with him, that was pure comedic gold. I mean, think about it. Think about how his wife could know about his stamnia without fighting him.

To wrap it up: will I follow the Hokkaido sequel? Probably. Will I enjoy it as much as the original? Most definately not. Was it necessary to produce a sequel 18 years after the original ended? I honestly don’t think so, but it’s Kenshin, so I take what I can get.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTY

Yay. Zelda won GOTY at the Game Awards 2017! *claps* yay :3

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*this is probably going to be very pro Zelda, so be prepared*

I’m happy. I haven’t played all the games nominated, but I’m happy. The general consent seems to be: thank god PUBG didn’t win. Zelda? Fine with me, it’s not PUBG. I’m actually very glad a lot of people feel this way, because it just feels wrong to even nominate a game that hasn’t even seen a full release yet and is basically still in testing phase.

In general the reception of Zelda as Game of the Year seems to be quite good.

Then there’s the Horizon-fans complaining Horizon didn’t win anything and I’ve seen some individuals from different fan bases saying Zelda just won because it’s Zelda and everything Zelda is just being praised and loved because fans blindly love Zelda.

First of all: I don’t own a PS4. Therefore, I didn’t play Horizon. What I know about this game is, that it’s very good and therefore I think it’s sad it didn’t win anything. It probably deserved to win at least something.

Second: the assumption that Nintendo fans just blindly love everything Zelda because of the name is just plain wrong. We’ve seen in the past several times where Zelda was met with huge criticism or downright hate, because it didn’t deliver what fans wanted.The Zelda franchise is one of the highest acclaimed franchises in video game history and has produced top-tier games of outstanding quality for over 30 years now most notably in its main series on home consoles. Therefore, expectations for any new Zelda release are astronomical high and what happens if these expectations are not fully met, we’ve recently seen in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword in particular. There’s always hardcore fans defending everything, that’s normal, but I believe there’s a fair share of fans who are very critical towards Zelda, because they are very spoiled by the average quality of the franchise.

Wind Waker was met with a storm of rage due to its cartoony graphics. It took fans years to come to terms with it and appreciate the outstanding game behind it. When it was initially released? Oh boy, that was a riot, because everyone expected realistic graphics that Nintendo didn’t deliver. The game itself wasn’t even bad. Sure, it’s not perfect: travel can be boring over longer distances and the triforce quest was just way too long, both issues got fixed in the HD version. Other than that, the game was truly awesome. It was the art direction alone, that made fans hate on this game. And hate they did.

Other example: Skyward Sword. And it was, once again, primarily one feature, that made fans collectively hate this game. Fans. Not media. I believe this game was actually rated a bit too high by the general media, but is rated way too low by fans – even today. The feature in question is… motion control. Contrary to what many people try to make other’s believe: it works fine. I’ve played it and barely had issues with it at all. I’m not trying to defend a bad game, I’m trying to be honest and I can honestly say: the motion control worked great for me. Many gamers hated it for the fact alone that is was mandatory and you couldn’t play the game with a classic controller. The other problem with this game is that it’s not the game fans were asking for. Around the time when Skyward Sword was released, fans have been asking for an open world Zelda for quite a while already and got a very linear playing-it-save type of Zelda with lot’s of handholding, which disappointed fans even further.

I personally believe Skyward Sword was a fantastic game and a very solid Zelda with some nice boss fights, enjoyable worlds, great dungeons and interesting items (I love the beetle). Just like I think Mario 3D World is a fantastic game and a very solid Mario. Both games were met with lukewarm receptions by gamers -Skyward Sword more negative than 3D World- simply because they weren’t the type of games fans wanted.

Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey both are the games fans have been asking for a long time and were both met with euphoria from fans – so much, I believe fans tend to be more forgiving to these games, because they’re both basically 100% fanservice. This is Nintendo listening to their fans and giving them exactly what they wanted and people are responding accordingly.

And both games are fantastic! So much, they both got nominated for GOTY at the Game Awards, which I believe was very well deserved. I’ve been a long time Zelda-fan, but I’ve been playing Mario platformer even longer. I’ve been playing Mario for 20+ years across 7 generations of home consoles and their handheld counterparts. Both franchises have been a huge part of my gaming life and I hope to be as fair as possible, even though I personally just prefer 2D or 2+1/2 D platformer over 3D collect-A-thons, because I love tight 2D platforming the most – which is the reason why I prefer Donkey Kong Country over Mario, btw. I usually try to appreciate the good in games, even if they’re personally not to my liking. I know there’s a lot of people who’d be so mad at me for saying this, but at one point, I got bored by Mario Odyssey.

Mario Odyssey is a consistently great game and getting all moons is one hell of a hard  quest. While I thought most moons during the regular playthrough are too easy to get, there’s some real challenges, if you try to collect them all. The game doesn’t really has any low points, it has a very high average quality without any real dips downwards, but also without many spikes upwards. My one and only big moment in this game was the festival in New Donk City. That was plain awesome, no question and New Donk City by itself was the most enjoyable part for me due to all the vertical platforming involved. I also loved the pipes that sent you to these very hard platforming sections post game. There’s nothing better than finally clearing these mini-levels after 20+ tries, there’s finally some actual sense of accomplishment involved, like… I earned that moon. Oh, and while we’re at it, I applaud to the game for calling them moons in mushroom kingdom, even though they’re clearly stars.

However, in a way, Mario Odyssey was playing it kind of save. At least compared to Zelda. Mario Odyssey was basically Mario 64 2.0, it was the Mario 64 successor fans wanted ever since. Since the first time I was able to get my hands on na demo, I’ve been saying: guys, this game does not reinvent the wheel, it’ very much Mario like we know and love, nothing more and nothing less. After playing this game, I still believe the very same about it. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy or appreciate the new features, like the 8bit segments in the stages or the capture feature that basically replaces power ups. Mario Odyssey is an outstanding game, it just doesn’t dare to go one step further.

A step Zelda dared to take. Just like Odyssey, Breath of the Wild is still very much Zelda, but with the formula we’ve come to know for such a long time removed for the most part. There’s still hearts to collect, the Master Sword to find and the Princess to rescue, but they turned it from a linear formulated experience to a free open world game. By going back to the very first Zelda and take inspiration from modern open world games, Nintendo nailed their very first try at making an open world game out of one of their most well-known and beloved franchises. And like I said: fans are critical about Zelda. If this didn’t work out, the backlash would’ve been huge. But it worked out.

Once again this game has a very high average quality with more drips downwards than Odyssey, but also with more spikes upwards. For all the weaker parts of the game, there are others done so phenomenally well, they overshine the bad ones. In terms of game design, even though I didn’t play every game this year obviously, but the game design in BotW is insanely good. The physics engine, the game mechanics, the freedom and the lack of handholding it all turns this game into a truly great experience.

BotW dared to be more daring, but was executed so well, the flaws of this game are simply being forgiven. I hope Nintendo can work on the remaining flaws of BotW and make the successor even greater, because I believe BotW might have just managed to do what the original Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time did before: change the way we look at games. Especially the world as one huge living interactive being  has not been done quite like this before with so many possibilities given to the player due to a phenomenal physics engine and something very simple like the ability to climb everything. Whatever you think should be possible, is possible and that opens up a whole new dimension of gameplay. This goes beyond a fish fleeing from you or arrows flying in a naturalistic curve and being collectible even under water.

BotW pushed the genre forwards, a genre it just entered. It also pushed the franchise forwards and gave it a much-needed overhaul. I don’t think Nintendo will entirely drop the classic Zelda formula, but it would be nice to see different kinds of Zelda coexisting alongside each other.

I hope the successor to this game has better item management. Going through all the pages of food and gear and weapons to whatever you’re searching for at the moment was annoying. I would also love to see traditional dungeons back. I liked the approach of huge 3D puzzles, but 4 traditional dungeons would’ve been more to my liking. And for the love of god, maybe one day we’ll have a Zelda with an actual great story and characters? Maybe? I’m supporting the weapon durability aspect, btw.

And we definitely need more Sidon.

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Damn, this post got way longer than I anticipated…

Disagreement (graphic! I guess…?)

So, today was my first day back at work after a 3 days leave and I happend to have a little bit of a disagreement with one of our patients.

Mind you, I work at a small animal practice and said patient was a cat. Cats are basically the most dangerous animal that you can find in a small animal practice and you’re going to find out why. Don’t worry, though, the scratches don’t hurt, the cat was not hurt and I could’ve definately ended up much much worse.

The worst thing that can happen in a small animal practice, is getting bitten by a cat. Dogs? Nah. A cat bite? OH SHIT! The reason is the canine (yes, cats have canine teeth) in cats are so sharp, when they bite the tooth is pressed in deep and when it comes out, the wound closes almost immediately, because it’s only a very small wound. The tooth however brought gems into the wound and those gems are having the time of their life now infecting your hand. It’s crutial to get antibiotics and proper treatment ASAP, or otherwise you’re in serious danger of loosing a finger. Or two. Or a hand. Untreated infected cat bites can send you into hospital, into severe pain, into huge abzesses and worst case into an amputation.

That being said, if there’s one thing we try to avoid, it’s getting bitten by a cat. After 3 + 1/2 years at our practice, I’ve never been bitte so far. Everything you’re going to see are scratches. Scratches are no big deal, they bleed a bit, they heal, everything’s chill. I just want to post this to show how dangerous my job can be. I love my job, I don’t mind uncooperative or grumpy patients, but it’s not the cute cuddly job people often expect.

I’m not injured that often either. I’m a careful person. It was just one of those days today. And that’s why I’m not a cat person.

Btw, I have a skin condition, that’s why I have a lot of small wounds and scars on my arms. Don’t worry about those, they have nothing to do with animals of any kind.

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Ballroom e Youkoso Anime and Manga Spoilers

Damn those necks.

Okay, so with Ballroom e Youkoso my arguably most anticipated anime of the year was released and we’re 5 episodes in and far enough to say something of substance.

First of all, I love the art direction. I know, the necks are a little bit too long, but overall I think it looks absolutely gorgeous and the animation quality is pretty nice. I was hoping for fully animated dances in the same way Yuri on Ice fully animated the figure scating programms, but that’s very unusual for anime, so I guess I kind of knew this wouldn’t happen? It’s still a tiny bit disappointing, though.

They make use of freeze frames quite a bit and while that’s not unusual in anime at all, the manga does such an amazing job of capturing the movement and power of dancing, I actually think the anime looks a little bit too static sometimes. I’ve seen much worse, don’t get me wrong, something in me just screams: “This is not right.” when the manga is creating better movement with still images than it’s animated counterpart. It’s still good! I just think it could be better.

It’s been such a long time that I’ve seen the start of the story, it made me realize a lot of stuff and it’s really funny seeing all the new people react to the characters, who you know will not be what they seem to be when they are introduced, but first things first.

I noticed I’m really missing Chii-chan so much, not just because she’s one of my favorite characters and I totally ship her with Tatara, but also because she’s giving Tatara a real challenge and brings out his worse. She makes him suffer, she makes him question his ablilities, but she also makes him move forward the absolute most. Right now in these first 5 episodes, everything came so easy to Tatara, he’s basically been given everything on a silver tablet with the best wishes from the Chef so far and it will continue this way until Chii-chan arrives and messes with everything Tatara thought he knew.

Tatara is a total beginner and yes he first struggles a bit with the Waltz, but he gets his lessons for free, he is taught by literally the best dancer in Japan, he gets his suit for free, he gets to dance with two very experienced and advanced girls to learn from and has the ability to learn extreamly fast by seeing and remembering basically everything about dancing. Explaining doesn’t work very well for him, but seeing it does.

I really didn’t notice it that much when I was reading the manga, but Tatara is very priviledged – and has the balls to try and go after Shizuku as a partner, because he has a crush on her, even though she’s partnered with Hyodo. I don’t want to sound too mean, because he’s still training a lot, even at home, but I stand by my words, he has it very easy at the start and it takes until Chii-chan arrived that he’s actually forced to struggle for real for the first time.

I guess having it easy at the beginning makes up for all the struggle he has to go through with Chii-chan, because once it starts, it’s not going to stop. Tatara learns to suffer and is forced to face his weak spots, but creates something very unique together with Chii-chan. In a way, Chii-chan is the 3rd experienced & advanced girl he gets to pair up with, but she’s his first real partner and unlike Mako and Shizuku, Chii-chan has a whole damn lot of learning to do herself, because she always danced the male part and never the female part. So, you end up with a beginner who doesn’t know how to lead and an advanced dancer who doesn’t know how not to lead. Perfect combination for trouble. Awesome.

It’s actually even more awesome that in recent chapters they’ve started to discover a way to work together and bring out both their strenghts in their dance. I hope they can move forward from being the dysfunctional couple in desync to being a real unity, because in the rare moments they were, they were freaking unstoppable. They complement each other so well, there’s no way I want to see Tatara leave her for Shizuku at one point. If that’s ever going to happen, I’m dropping this manga, Tatara and Chii-chan absolutely need to stay together.

Talking about staying together, I love Hyodo and episode 4 made me realize again just why. This manga/anime has a great talent and that is: introducing an antagonist as some evil guy, that ends up in a friendly rivalry with the main protagonist. It happend with Hyodo, who’s some kind of mentor/elder brother to Tatara in manga right now and it also happend with Gaju. It’s so funny seeing all the people watching the anime complaining over Hyodo, wishing he would break up with Shizuku for Tatara’s sake and now they’re upset about Gaju “snatching Shizuku away” from Tarara being the mean guy… when it fact they all have their partners, they all will stay with their partners, Tatara will get his own partner and they will all become pretty good friends.

They are still rivals, but I love that they’re friends at the same time in a very healthy way. They do shenaningans, they mess up, they tease each other, but everything is on friendly terms and they rely onto each other when needed, too. In case of Hyodo, these could very well be his first actual frindships and Gaju? I mean, he’s even messing with Tatara in school all the time, they’re partners in crime.

In shounen, and Ballroom e Youkoso is a shounen, you usually have the main protagonist and his close ring of friends, his nakama. In case of Tatara, his “nakama” are his rivals, wich is kind of cool to be honest. I’d be interesting to see if Masami joins this ring of friends/rivals as well. So far, he tried his best not to and be the long wolf. He’s a very different type of guy and I think he might always stay more reserved, but I think he could very well become friends with the rest of the group.

And by the way, Akira is pretty ingenius as a comic relieve. She’s not just funny in the way she interacts with Chii-chan, there’s a very serious background to all of this and I hope to see more of her. Not because she’s gay for Chii-chan, remember I ship TataraxChii-chan, but because of her great dynamic with Chii-chan.

Before I finish this, I need to get this out of my system: You don’t teach Slow Foxtrott to a beginner. You… don’t. It’s too hard, even the basic steps are long and complicated, it’s a dance for advanced dancers and nothing Tatara should learn after Waltz as his first dance ever.

Skip Beat 248

I don’t even know if I ever mentioned Skip Beat, but I’ve been reading it ever since my brother’s first girlfriend introduced me and that was ages ago. It’s quite amazing how little this manga developed story wise in this period of time.

skip_beat_44_8You see, when I stated reading Skip Beat, it must’ve been around 2005, so it’s been a long time. In these 12 years, I’ve read and finished so many manga while this is is one of the few that I’m actually still reading from this period of time. Skip Beat has easily always been the manga I’ve complained about the most about it’s speed of development story- and character-wise. The fun part is, I’ve also always been reading Detective Conan and there’s nothing happaning at all, very few instances when we had a bit of actual story, but it’s not much.

The difference is, Conan is designed very periodic, so we usually have a couple of chapters revolving around a case. The case is finished and we move onto the next one, so every few chapters we have some kind of resolve and we accomplish something. It’s a weekly manga, so it’s usually between a months or two before we finish one mini-arc.

Skip Beat drags on a lot more. First and foremost, it’s monthly and it’s not just monthly, it also has a very small page count for a monthly manga. You know, I’m used to the Fullmetal Alchemist type of monthly manga around 40 pages per chapter, sometimes even close to 50. Skip Beat has about 25-30 ish pages per chapter and as you can see: huge difference. Okay, this can be thanks to different art style, working conditions, health issues with the manga-ka, whatever, you know, there are many reasons why we skip_beat_78_25have less pages per chapter and if 25-30 works good for Nakamura, then that’s fine.

Unfortunately, Skip Beat has not exactly been the most regulary released manga on the planet, skipping a month here and there. Actually, it used to be released bi-weekly, which might be the reason why the page count is that low for a monthly release, and was moved to a monthly release a few years ago if I remember correctly. Which is fine, again. I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about and I don’t have a problem with that.

Now take all what I’ve said so far about page count and not-as-regular-releases-as-we-would-like and add a painstakingly slow narrative to it – THIS is where it starts getting annoying. I swear to god, Akagami no Shirayukihime managed at least twice as much substance in 85 chapters than Skip Beat managed in 248 chapters. I constantly feel like we’re walking on the same spot without getting anywhere, as if we’re stiped to a conveyer belt or something.

We did make some progress over the time, no question. Kyoko went from hating love after being mistreated by Sho, to admitting to herself that she’s in love with Ren. She also developed into a capable actess, even though she’s still officlally an idol and head chef of the Love Me section, but I actually think she was surprisingly good right from the start. I skip_beat_241_4mean, she was never “bad” at acting, she had the talent all the time and impressed people all over the place even with her early works.

Thanks to the amazingly slow narrative, the mini-arcs in Skip Beat take years to finish, which can drag on a lot. For example: Kyoko was talking with Moko-san about the role of Momiji, that she’s currently auditioning for, 14 chapters ago – that’s 14 months, if a chapter was released every month during that time. I think the whole thing actually started even further back, but that’s already over a year and she still didn’t get the part just yet. It looks like she will get it very soon and Ren has come back from Guam earlier only to see a picture of Sho and Kyoko kissing, which is not that good, I guess…? I mean,  Ren is 21 years old currently and Kyoko is 17, which officially makes then illegal. Sho and Kyoko are of the same age, so at least Sho is not breaking the law.

Akagami no Shirayukihime has been dragging on a lot lately as well, because Shirayuki and Zen have been separated for a while now and I’m dying to see them together again. At least they’re an official pair, that’s much more than Skip Beat can claim to have. I’m also dying to know what Ren will give Kyoko as a White Day’s gift. He sent everyone a gift, except Kyoko and Yashiro mentioned months ago that he knows what Ren got for her, so I think it’s certain to say he got her something special and wants to give it to her skip_beat_219_8in person. That was, before he saw that picture of Kyoko and Sho kissing, which might delay thing a tiny bit… and by that I mean probably another half a year.

Yeah, that’s one way to keep your manga running, but apparently there’s still enough people interested, or Skip Beat would’ve suffered the same fate Bleach had and would’ve been axed. At least we still have a chance to see a proper end to this.

Eurovision Song Contest 2017

All right, it’s this time of the year again: it’s Eurovision! The biggest and longest running

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ESC 2017 logo

song competition in the world, that claims to be unpolitical, but everyone and their grandma knows it’s not.

Granted, a few stars rose from the ESC and managed to build a career, but for the most part it’s cheesy and sparkly and gay and fun and pop songs and Eurodance and ballads all in 3 big shows. I’m not a huge Eurovision-geek, but being into it once a year is perfectly fine.

I would like to talk about 2 things about this year’s ESC: Russia and Italy.

As we all know, Russia is boycotting the ESC this year, after Ukraine forbid russian entry Julia Samoylova to enter the country. Now, this may sound mean, even more so because she’s disabled and sitting in a wheelchair, but she broke ukrainian law by performing on crimera without going through Ukraine – in other words: she flew directly from Russia to crimera to perform and that resulted in a 3 year ban to enter Ukraine. There’s another 140 artists that share the same fate.

Is Ukraine being too hard? This is very hard to answer. Russia obviously is trying to be the victim here, I mean: there’s no way Russian authorities didn’t know about Samoylovas ban to enter Ukraine before choosing her and they chose a disabled artiest on top of that – someone you’re going to feel bad for easily. This was a calculated conflict from Russia, they knew this would happen and they knew Ukraine would not make an expection, because these two countries are in war and Ukraine is still damn pissed about crimera.

However, neither country was interested in resolving this conflict, the EBU said Samoyolova could perfom in Russia and her performance could be streamed live during the show, but both countries declined and neighter offered another solution. Every single person with a brain their head should’ve known either Russia or Ukraine was going to pull one out after Jamala won last year and quite honestly, nobody really seems surprised either. It’s a little sad, because Eurovision is supposed to bring countries together and it has been used to deepen an ungoing conflict this year. Personally I think both countries should’ve acted more peaceful.

Leaving Russia and Ukraine behind, I would like to talk a bit about Italy this year. Yes, Italy, the huge favorite. Some people think the song is overrated, I personally really like it. I think it’s a catchy popsong, that’s fun to listen to and you don’t feel bad listen to it more than once. I’m also a huge fan of Francescos rough voice and hope he can deliver a great perfomance in the finale.

However, I think having a great song is not the only reason so many people support Italy this year. I often read comments about Italy being robbed 2015 and they finally deserve

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Italy: Francesco Gabbani

the win they should’ve taken two years ago. Rewind backwards to 2015 when Italy was the huge fan favorite and took an undisputed clear first place in the audience voting. That night european people decided “Grande Amore” was their winner, but a hand full of profressionals decided to make a much more radio-friendly song the winner: Sweden. Since Italy was so widley supported by fans, many felt Italy was robbed by the juries and now that Italy has another outstanding top song, the support is there once again.

Additionally, I would like to add Jamala was second place last year: she was second place in jury voting and second place in audience voting. She won, because Australia did very well with the juries, but not that good with the audience and Russia did very well with the audience, but not that good with the juries. Once again, just like the year before, we have a huge difference between the fan favorite and the jury favorite and fans felt their winner was robbed once again. Add to the fact many people believe the votes for Ukraine were out of political interest and you kind of understand why the fans finally want to see “their winner” actually win.

Italy would be a very “safe” winner this year. After all the controversy around the ukraininan win last year and their trouble with Russia this year, Italy is very safe. They already deserved it two years ago, they don’t have any major problems with other countries, or at least not of the scale that Ukraine does, and they have a good song you can play on the radio in most parts of the world. It’s a “feel good” song at a time when many people don’t feel that good and problems are rising all around us and maybe we need a song to win, that makes us feel good for 3 minutes.

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Protugal: Salvador Sobral

The other favorites to win are currently Portugal and Sweden – also two very safe options – and Bulgaria, another controversial entry, because ever since Russias announced they won’t participate this year, Bulgaria is basically Russias secret entry, because their artist has russian roots, is very well known in Russia and is expected to get many russian votes. Quite honestly, I really REALLY don’t want Bulgaria to win and it has nothing to do with their song, unfortunately, it’s 100% politics: I don’t want this mess a second time in a row. It’s been a long time since ESC was as political as it is this year and I want to have a break from that next year. Every once in a while: okay, but not every year.

I’ll be rooting for Italy, I really like France and Belgium as well and hope they’ll be doing great this year. My own country? Germany? Set to lose again, no point talking about it.