Ballroom e Youkoso will be back!

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After more than a year on hiatus, Ballroom e Youkoso is finally comming back! Apparently the manga-ka is healthy again and a new chapter is supposed to be released January 6th, which is about 2 1/2 weeks from now.

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Strangly, after such a long time of waiting, 2 1/2 weeks feel very long now that I know it’s finally happening. And yes, I know, most of the fandom has no idea this is happening, but I freaking love this manga and this is literally the best news in a loooong while for me.

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Blue Sky Complex

141127lBlue Sky Complex is a BL I recently discovered and so far it has been pretty good. Even though I love me a nice BL manga every once in a while, I have to admit, there’s a lot of fanservice in the huge pool of stories to choose from. A lot of stories are simply entirely made out of clichés from start to finish and it’s always the same conflicts to overcome.

Of course I understand it’s still not as accepted to have a homosexual relationship than having a heterosexual relationship and there’s a lot of problems that comes with it. Even though, I personally think we should not have to worry about these types of things anymore and therefore I like manga, that don’t ride on the same conflicts over and over again mixed with a nice bag full of over-dramatized cliché. I completely detest manga about rape, like Junjou Romantica. I once wrote an entry in this blog why I hate this manga, contrary to most fans of the BL genre, so I’m not going to repeat myself, but to sum it up: the main love interest is a psychopath and their entire relationship is build upon forced seuxual activities and rape. And yes, this is one of the most popular BL manga out there with several anime adaptations. If anything, that’s just sad.

What I like about Blue Sky Complex is, the love interest and main character, even though hetero at first, doesn’t care that his partner is male. When asked, if he is okay with a male partner, he simply answered it’s not about gender but about the person.  I can’t even start to descibe how awesome that statement is and how many people could learn from that.

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Of course the delinquent who’s gay from the start and falls in love with the main character (the glasses guy in the picture on the right), has trouble with the fact that he’s in love with a hetero and he seeks advice from a fellow gay man, but it’s not overly dramatic, it’s more like a normal teenager seeking advice. We’re all insecure when we’re in love, especially when it’s our first love.

Blue Sky Complex simply tells a story about two teenagers in love, in that aspect, it’s similar to Seven Days, another manga I highly recommend.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

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On 04. december 2015 Nintendo launched the second game I primarily bought my Wii U for: Xenoblade Chronicles X. The other two games are Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Zelda U.

And what can I say? I know which games to buy my consoles for. I loved every second of DKC and I’m loving every second I’m spending with Xenoblade X.

As the successor fo the highly acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles, obviously the expectations for X were sky high. I’m currently 37 hours into this game and just got my Skell. So far, I’d say they they nailed it. However, you have to keep in mind X is very different from Xenoblade Chronicles, a very story driven game, while the priorities in X are in the huge Open World setting.

WVW69ipSqGsB70-39zAnd what a world this is. The planet you’re stranded on, Mira, is gigantic and it makes you feel very small in comparison. The second this world opens up to you is a breathtaking experience, basically about 20 Minutes into the game or something. And even after 37 hours, I haven’t stepped my foot onto the fifth continent at all and are far from having fully explored the others continents.

As huge as this world is, it’s nearly entirely open to you from the very start. There’s only few areas you can’t get to right away, because they might be locked away behind powerful enemies. And yes, you see level 50 enemies roam the area right next to your city NLA. You’re truly free to explore the world of Mira to your liking when and as much you want and every terrain has different layers, too. Just because you’re following the arrow to your destination and you’re standing on the right spot, doesn’t mean you’re standing on the right layer – you may need to climb into a cave that’s right under your feet, or a tree above your head. Some areas are more straightforward than others, though.

What all areas have in common, though, is their beauty. As this game is a Wii U exclusive, hardware limitations restrict this game from high WVW69iorbmgARNQOCeresolution textures, but they still managed to create a huge open world without loading between areas, it’s all one big world, and still managed to make this game to look nothing but impressive with an astonishing love to details. Even after so many hours into this game, I still find myself adoring this beautifully crafted world. “Of, look, there’s a tree I can climb, that I didn’t notice before, let’s take a look. WOW! What a view!” It’s always like that. Of course it doesn’t compare to the graphics of games like The Witcher 3, but Xenoblade X is nothing but impressive. As huge as it is, it’s just as beautiful.

What I love about this game, is the lack of handholding. I’ve heared many people complain the game actually needs to explain more, but I don’t even think that’s true, we’re just too used to games telling us every step we have to take. Pay attention to what the game tells you, read the manual, if there are any questions left and use your brain. Problem solved. I was stuck in a quest for 5 hours, becasue I was too stupid to solve it the easy way, so I did it the hard way and explored a good chunk of the first continent. The bad part: I kind of wasted 5 hours. The good part: I need this exploration done anyway at some point, so these 5 hours weren’t really wasted after all.

There’s so much to do and you can choose entirely on your own when you want to continoue with the story. I highly suggest doing affinity missions in between the story missions, but sidequests and ?-missions never really hurt as well, especially becasue you can rack up some levels, items and money that way. Fetch quests can be annoying, but you can avoid many of them and besides, I found myself doing some valuable exploring while on fetch quests and even the supposely long and annoying series of quests, before you get your Skell-licence, wasn’t even that bad in my bood – I had 2 from the 8 missions alrealy completed beforehand and knew where to find the missing item for the fetch quest thanks to an affinity mission I did before.

I get distracted all the time, sometimes even within a mission and I love that I can do this. I’m thankful, I can just run off and follow the items, or choose to decide to the the affinity mission that is popping up before me in the city right now, even though I was on my way to do a story mission. The only regulation, however is, while you’re in a story or affinity mission, you can’t do another story or affinity mission. Affinity missions are basically background informations to back up the main story, they’re optinal, but I recommend doing them, because you get a much better understanding of the entire situation and the characters.

498ccad8d4b6b5b3c3f66c60f463a1dfThe combat system is great. It builds upon what Xenoblade Chronicles created and perfected it. It’s like Xenoblade Chronicles, only better. You basically run up to a monster and to fight it you focus on it, or it has visual/aural sensoring and notices you first. You fight on the spot where you are, there are no fighting rooms that are opening up or something and if you’re on a small bridge, you better keep on eye on staying on said bridge. Sure, if you fall down into the sea, you won’t die, but have fun climbing up all the way to your previous spot again.

Based on your class, you can learn different types of techniques correlating with your weapons. I choose to specialize on physical close range sword combat. I have 4 attacks to choose from and 4 different boosts to get the best out of it. It’s a combination that works very good for me, but you can do somethign entirely different, if you want to.

For all the good parts, obviosuly this game is not perfect and has it’s issues as well. However, I think most issues come from genre specific problems and it really depends on what gets on your nerves the most. The music is a hit or miss kind of deal, I usually don’t care too much about it, but some tracks are really not that good, while others are great. Sometimes during cutszenes, the music is way too loud and you have trouble understanding the characters. And you better sit close to the screen, because the front size is dangerously small.

The game comes with english voice acting and I think it’s pretty good. I don’t have that high expectations when it comes to VA anyway, but I would’ve liked to have the option to choose the japanese voices with subtitles. Instead I got the english voices plus german subtitles by default – something that is driving me crazy. I understand the english dialouge, but start reading the subtitles out of habit and end up utterly confused, because the speed of the spoken dialouge and my reading don’t match up. Thank god, you can just disable the subtitles. Their front size is just fine, btw.

The story is not really the strongest either, but depending on how many affinity missions you’re doing, you can get more out of it. Still, the priotity Xenoblade-Chronicles-X-9is the exploration and the Open World concept, while story only plays a secondary role. If you’re looking for a story driven JRPG, you’re looking for the wrong game here. Maybe this is why a good portion of people are disappointed in X, because Xenoblade Chronicles was much more story driven and had overall better fleshed out characters. X may share the name with Xenoblade Chronicles and some key features, such as the combar system, but is overall a stand alone game with very different priorities. I personally love what they did with this game, but not everyone does.

A quick word about the gamepad, because this game is nearly impossible to play without it. The map is on the gamepad and makes your life so much easier compared to entering a menu every time you want to fast travel and in a game as big as this one, you will be fast travelling a lot. The map and everything you can do with is entirely on the gamepad and it shows just how much open world games can benefit from the second screen between your hands. This is where the gamepad can truly shine.

To sum it up, this is a great game, but don’t expect to get the same experience you got from Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s a different kind of experience and depending on your preferences, it might be better or worse than it’s predecessor. Nevertheless, it’s a marvelous JRPG, the best I played this year. This is actually my personal GOTY so far. It’s been a while since I’ve put this many hours in a game that fast. I stopped playing what i was playing before I got this game and haven’t watched a single anime episode, because I’m playing this game every chance I get. And whenever I feel like I just want to finish my current mission real quick, I end up playing for hours straight.

On a scale from 1 to 100, this game is in the 90s for me, maybe 96 or something. I don’t care that much about many of the biggest issues other people have with this game. This game is made for me, I can’t deny that. It really hits my nerve. So excuse me, because I really need to get out there and start the affinity mission I have my eyes on.

Man of Steel

henry-cavill-15I  recently watched Man of Steel and I guess I had some issues with the movie. The visuals looked great, the action was cool and I kind of liked the new suit. I mean, there’s pretty much no chance making this suit not looking ridiculous by default, but at least this version did’t have underwear on top. And it didn’t look like some cheap halloween costume with the alien material actually adding a lot stucture and depth to it.

Sadly, I liked my Superman much better without the suit. Not because of the tights, or let’s say not only becasue of the tights. My main problem is, that he just lookled so much cooler half naked, hair on chest and with a fullgrown beared. He looked so badass when he rescued the people at the platform in the middle of the ocean. I was so happy to see SuperMAN, with the emphasis of MAN. And what did they do? Yeah, they got rid of the beard and for some reason Clark kind of looked like a puppy for the entire rest of the movie, which was a lot considering he shaved very early into the adult-part of the movie. henry-cavill-kal-elGreat. Thanks, now we’re back to SuperSonInLaw or maybe you’d prefer SuperBoy? My man disappeared with the beard. I’m sad.

Also, I’d like to add that Clark had his best moments before he’s gotten into the suit. Or at least that’s how I see it, because the moment he became Superman, he pretty much was the embodiment of justice and wasn’t allowed to be a character anymore. As a child, he was angry and upset that he wasn’t allowed to show his powers or to fight back when bullied. When he was an adult he stole clothes, this might sound minor, but that’s still a criminal act. And when this douche at the bar mistreated Clark’s girlfriend? Vandalism. I have to admit I really liked what he did to the truck in order to get some revenge, but he was acting on instinct, becasue he was angry and was acting outside of law boundaries without any question. Sadly, that’s about it. He’s Mister Super-Nice Guy for the rest of the movie, 100% good to the point where he had a mental breakdown over the death of his mortal enemy who tried to kill the entire population of Earth. When this happend, I was just like: “Ok, guess that’s what had to happen.” Instead of a mental breakdown, why not let him do something completely unexpected, something not “good”, something like looking down on Zod’s corpse in disgust, heck, I would’ve preferred to see him spit at Zod or something. Becasue that shows character. Being the embodiment of justice is not being a character, because a character has good and bad sides and acts on it. Super man is not allowed to do that and I had a feeling that a lot of potential was wasted there.

MAN OF STEELAnd Superman was not the only one. This movie has serious issues getting it’s characters and character development right. Lois Lane was pretty much completely exchangable. It felt a bit like she was there to be his love interest, but the entire love story was very poorly done. Just because we all know Lois is Supermans one big love, doesn’t mean their love story doesn’t need to be told. It’s a bit disappointing, but the few moments where spraks were supposed to fly, it just didn’t really… happen. It hardly ever felt romantic at all and then near the end of the movie, suddenly you have the big passioante kissing show and I was seriously wondering where that just came from. When did they fall in love again? It’s not like they even talked this much, the fact that Superman was as silent as a fish for most the movie, didn’t really help that much either. Not with thewir relationship and also not with Clarks character.

michael-shannon-zodActually, when I think about it, even Preey White had more character than Superman and that’s a bit sad. He was actually pretty cool for the few moments he had. Strict boss, unerstanding leader and willing to give his life, because he doesn’t want to give up on this life of his subordinate.

The villain, Zod, I guess his motives weren’t even bad, it’s just that the execution is extreamly radical. He’s very loyal to his home and is willing to sacrifice an entire race to rebuild his old one. He might’ve been acting very strongly against humans, but with the best intentions for his own people. He wasn’t insane, he was just very loyal to his world and as a being created for war he did what his instincts told him to do, something completely different from Superman. I don’t think he was such a bad villain to be honest. Could’ve been worse, at least he had a legit motive for his actions and I can somewhat relate to what he was trying to do and why.

temp1Another problem of this movie was, that it was trying to tell a story that was too big for a 2-hour movie. Personally, I think this entire thing would’ve worked out much better, if they would’ve done a 2-parter. The structure of the storytelling was so weird, especially in the beginning, it felt like half of the movie was cut out and I’m watching the remaining pieces thrown together. There was Krypton’s story, Clark’s childhood, his quest to find himself and a his true identity, Clark becomming Superman,  Zod’s Story and I guess there was also supposed to be a Love Story of some kind. If they would’ve had more time, they would’ve been able to look at certain storyparts more closely and actually tell a story where character interact and are allowed to have enough time to become real characters developing. The entire movie felt very rushed. Ok, this rushing actually did help that moment when Clark was in the arctic or soomething taking off into the sky, wherne he was walking very very slowly, taking in his surroundings and everything. I think that moment worked pretty good. The rest… not so much.

The-Man-of-Steel-dc-comics-34648365-2880-1800I though it was a bit unfortunate that Clark’s quest to find himself and his true identity was done so quickly and then he immediately had to choose between Earth and Kryton. The find-your-identity quest could’ve been it’s own movie, I would’ve loved to see more of that, of the time when Clark was still searching for who he was. I was a bit shocked when I heared that he was already 33 years old at the time of the movie and this means, he was probably walking around living this very unsteady life for a pretty long time. That would’ve made a good movie in itself, I was very disappointed we only saw so litte of that.

What I did like, though, was how they explained his weakness and that they dared to step away from Krytonite, or whatever it’s called. That was just such a lame excuse to give him a weakness to begin with. Hey, we have a Superalien here, let’s think of a weakness… oh well, just give him some alien rocks. In this universe, his alien body reacted different to the atmosphere, the sun and the readiation of Earth than a human’s body does and this is where his strengh comes from. On the other hand, without this surrounding, he’s weak as a human. Of course, it’s much harder to play this weakness out, but it makes a lot more sense at the very least.

man-of-steel-19Now, the movie did so well getting rid of Supermans ridiculous weekness and they still couldn’t think of a way to explain why a pair of glasses is apparently the best camouflage ever? You know, the ending szene when Clark walks into the Daily Planet and despite the unimportant fact that his colleagues and his boss Perry had a first row seat watching him making out with Lois in the ruins of the city, they failed to recognize the guy, becasue he’s wearing a pair of glasses. Yes, I know, Superman has always been that way, but this doesn’t justify the stipud things this franchise has embraced since… well, forever? They really tried to break some boundaries with this movie, but couldn’t think of anything in this matter? Were they even trying? Probably not.

Also, something I would like to point out is something the movie absolutely failed to mention at all. And this is a topic apparently so imporant every single Man of Steel fanfiction manages to adress it. I mean, if Teenagers who think they possess writing skills for some unknown reason and write cheesy love stories about Lois and Clark think far enough to adress this point, why doesn’t the movie? Again, no time? I’m really blaming it on that, actually. What I’m taking about is the destruction of Metropolis during the last fight Superman vs Zod. Not only is the city heavly damaged to the point where it should take years (even with the help of Superman) to transform it into a state that could be considered normal – different from before, but back to being a normal functioning city, but there’s also the issue that many people in the buildings that were destroyed during the fight will not have been able to leave the building in time. In other words. Hundrets of people died, probably thousands and the movie completely dismisses this. Not even mentioned once. If Clark is so upset about killing his enemy, what’s his reaktion to accidentally killing countless of innocent people during his fight?  That would’ve been intersting to see how he deals with that. Whom does he turn to? His mother? Lois? Maybe he tries to deal with it alone? Who knows and the movie doesn’t give us answers to these questions, it completely avoids these questions in the beginning.

movies-man-of-steel-henry-cavill-beardOk, for the ending of my little… rant about this movie, have another picture of SuperMAN. Just for the heck of it, because it’s so damn cool and it sets me into a better mood. Now, did I enjoy this movie? Yes. I guess, I did. I kinda liked it, even though there are many faults and lot’s of things could’ve been done better. I was more disappointed than anything else, because I feel like this movie coould’ve been much more than it turned out to be. It’s still probably and easily one of the best Superman movies in the past 30 years or so, but the TV series Smallville was a lot better to be honest and that was a TV production. The TV series was furtunate enough to be able to tell Clarks story in 10 seasons, that’s a lot of time to build a character and it’s so sad to see how much character Superman lacks in Man of Steel. It’s still an enjoyable movie and like I said, I consider it one of the better Superman movies, so it’s worth to be checked out I guess, there’s just a lot of wasted potential, too.

So, final verdict… I’d say 6/10 symbols of hope.

superman logo 6 out of 10

UEFA Euro 2012

Europe once again celebrates it’s sportsmanship with the second most important football-event worldwide, the UEFA Euro that conveniently takes place two years after the World Cup… no, not by accident. Hey,  can you really blame us? Football was born in England, no wonder Europe loves it the most and even until today, there’s still a lot more competition between European countries than anywhere else. South America has some amazingly good national teams… like, 3 of them, but you get the idea. I actually consider the UEFA Euro harder than the World Cup, because less countries are allowed to participate, we have a lot strong national teams around here, there’s no round of best 18 (so you jump right into the quarterfionals where most of the lesser great teams have already been eliminated) and the rules for the group-matches are insanely complicated, so it’s harder to advance to the knock out-rounds.

The group-matches are over and we finally have our quarterfinalists. Just as a note: I watch football every two years: FIFA WC und UEFA Euro. I know the rules, I know how it’s supposed to be played, but I’m no expert by any means. Still, seeing the groups, I guess Group A was the easiest group, Group B… well, Group of Death and all, Group C had a very strong Croatia, Iratly and Spain and Group D had a pretty good Ukraine, France and England.

I was very surprised that Russia lost to Greece in their final Group-match and Greece managed to advance to the quarterfinals and actually, I would’ve preferred if this didn’t happen. One reason is because I think Russia deserved the quarterfinals more than Greece, because Russia had the overall better apperance. The other reason is because the media tries to push politics onto the Greek/German-match now and this is freaking annoying. It’s a football match fot god’s sake, not a political banquet. I want to watch a good game friday, fair and square, no hate, no anti-german parols after a greek defeat, because they wanted to beat us because of the €uro-debate. None of this crap, I just want a good game, but actually I highly doubt that thanks to the kind of football Greece plays. It’s extreamly defencive, so it’s going to be hard to show some awesome to look at offensive football, because there will hardly be any room to work with for Germany. I’m positive they can crack it up, but it’s not going to be a very exiting match when Greece walls itself up with 9 people in front of their goal. I personally would’ve preferred Russia, because they also play offensive and very fast football. Nicer to look at. Thanks for losing, guys…

Group B was truly the Group of Death, with 4 teams ranked in the top 10 of the FIFA worldrankings. I was very surprised that the Netherlands did so bad, they have such great players, but were all over the place. It was like, you know, they have great individual players, but didn’t worked well as a team. I’m really sad it turned out this way, I would’ve loved for them to continue, it’s always something special to play against the Dutch for Germany. But how it turned out, they had to go home after 3 losses, that’s a bitter pill to take für the vice-worldchampion. Portugal was a bit disappointing during it’s first two games as well, but when Ronaldo remembered how to play the game in the 3rd match, it got a lot better. Ronaldo is pretty much their toughest weapon and when he has a good day, he’s very dangerous. As for Denmark, they successfully annoyed all the other countries in Group B and did better than most expected. To be honest, I would’ve loved for them to advance into the quarterfinals, because they tried so hard and fought with all they had in this hars group, but it just wasn’t enough. 😦 Germany, well, not much to say about us. We played worse than expected, but it was still enough for 3 (way too close) wins – the only country with 9 points btw – and to be able to keep being a favorite for the title. That’s quite an accomplishment, let’s so how far we can go this time. If you ask me, we should be able to get into the final and meet Spain there – again.

Talking about Spian, they nearly got kicked out of the tournament as well. Croatia annoyed the hell out of them, that’s for sure. In all respect for their great gameplay and everything, but if they would have failed to reach the quaterfinals, I would’ve laughed to hard. I’m sorry, you have a really amazing team, but this would’ve been just too funny. And Spain also played worse than expected, actually I see Spain and Germany pretty even right now and both teams still have a lot room to improve, so if they do, we’ll see a breathtaking finale with no favorite. This’ll be awesome, especially because Germany already lost 2 titles to Spain, this heats up the whole thing a lot. Before that, there’s still Italy and they did surprisingly good, after the huge shock 2 years ago during the World Cup, I guess we can expect some more surprises from them. Last is Ireland… well, you see, the Irish probably had the worst team that amde it into the tournament, but by far the most amazing fans I’ve ever seen. Guys, I love you so much, I would’ve loved to see more of you, please qualify for the next World Cup, altough you’re in our qualification-group and considering the others we’re kinda expected to go first place, you can still make it through the play-offs. We will all miss you during the knock out-rounds, that’s for sure.

Now, last group, France disappointed, could’ve been better, but still made it to the quarterfinals anyway. Sweden tried really hard and I think they would’ve probably deserved to advance more than France and their Captain Zlatan Ibrahimović was really good, he scored an amazing goal against France and absolutely deserved that win. Too bad it wasn’t enough. Same goes for Ukraine, they tried hard, but sadly failed. England advanced and did pretty good, but now there’s a lot of complaining going on the match between Ukraine and England, because of that one “goal” that would’ve tied the game. I perfectly understand that Ukraine is very pissed about that, because the ball was over the line, it was in the goal, but two passes before, there was an offside-situation the referee didn’t see. I know the goal was a different playing situation, but it was pretty close after the not-given offside, so honestly, I think it’s ok that the goal was not given. One referee-mistake kinda neutralises the other referee-mistake. Both were mistakes and because of that I wouldn’t have complained even if the goal would have been given, but as it is… this is actually the fairest outcome for both teams.

As for the hosts: I think they tried to play good games and I’m sad they failed to make it into the quarterfinals. Especially for the host, it’s always a very special tournament and the overall exitement in the hosting country is better when it’s still in the tournament.

Predictions for the upcomming matches? Oh well… I guess Portugal will beat the Czech Republic, Spain will beat France, Germany will beat Greece and Italy will beat England. Then we would have Portugal agianst Spain and Germany against Italy in the Semifinals from which Spain and Germany advance to the final match. Actually winning the whole thing sounds too good to be true, but of course I hope our boys can make it.

And these are my very amateur-ish thoughts on the UEFA Euro 2012. Let’s hope we’ll see some more good matches.

Eurovision Song Contest 2012 (Baku – Azerbaijan) – 1. Semi-Final

Yes, I’ve watched it. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s my favorite comedy-show after all, I’m so looking foward to it every year. Sadly, I won’t be able to watch the second Semi-final and the Final live, but luckily you can watch everything online – even the german version and I love our german commentator. You know, he’s the only one allowed to comment on Austrias song (“Woki mit Deim Popo” engl.: Shake your ass) with: “Das ist für den Arsch.” (literally: That’s for the ass.)

I’m honest, I don’t think anyone really treats the ESC seriously here and maybe that’s because we’ve had so many bad acts in the past: we weren’t even trying. The send-a-bad-act-stuff changed with Lena (hey, I like our Roman), but not exactly the overall opinion on the ESC and looking at some of the acts, I’m convinced we’re not the only onces thinking this way.

So, let’s dig into the unwanted funny musical competition that has Euro in it’s name, but is not limited to Europe, the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, first Semi-Final from Baku Azerbaijan. And I’m proud of myself: I knew about this country before ESC2011. In 2012 we have three lovely hosts, who were probably promised some kind of award, if they’re able to keep their awkward smile on their faces the entire show. Eldar Gasimov, by the way one part of the winning duo from fast year, seems to be the favorite, although he managed to get past the big challenge called French. His lovely co-moderators tried very hard on it, while he was practicing his smile.

1. Montenegro Rambo Amadeus – “Euro-Neuro”

The first participant already got a hell lot of positive response from the german watchers in my livestream. Probably because his entry was so silly, everone laughed at him. No, seriously, they’ve send the worst act of the day first, so at least you’re optimistic the rest of the show can’t get worse.

The main problem I had with this song, that might have a deep meaning, but simply fails to get it across to the audience, is the rythm. It sounds all over the place and the singing doesn’t really match the music either. I was so happy when it was over.

Result: kicked out

2. Iceland Gréta Salóme and Jónsi – “Never Forget”

The second act took immediate advantage of being place right after “Neuro Neuro”. After such a horrible song, everything sounds good. It seems Iceland decited to go with the “let’s try to mix some elements of past winners together”-strategy and send a male/female-duo (2011) with a violin (2009) for show. Did it work? Somehow, but let’s just say  they should be really grateful to Montenegro and I’m still absolutely convinced the male part of the dou, could have done better alone.

Result: in the Finals

3. Greece Eleftheria Eleftheriou – “Aphrodisiac”

Next was Greece and although it was a generic danceable song, it was actually the best song of the evening so far. Truth to be told, it wasn’t that hard to accompish this, but credit to whoever deserves it. Sadly the greek economy showed in the performance, the poor lady wasn’t even fully clothed. Ok, that joke was lame, but seriously, what the hell was she wearing? This can’t count for a dress, this is a shirt that barely coverd her ass as long as she didn’t move too much. Other than that, the song is pretty nice and, like I said, danceable, but the usual ESC-material if you ask me. They played safe.

Result: in the Finals

4. Lativa Anmary – “Beautiful Song”

Lativa was… not so good. A song about wishing to write a popular song didn’t work as good as they probably hoped and Anmary didn’t really sing it very good. Also, her dress was absolutely horrible, it looks 2 sizes too small for her. her performance was also very stiff, well, since she’s wearing this dress that’s no wonder. I’m very sorry, but this didn’t look like they were actually trying to reach the finals.

Result: kicked out

5. Albania Rona Nishliu – “Suus”

While Rona easily wins the award for the worst dress of the evening and the worst hairdo, she also easily wins the award for the best singer in the 1. semi-final and truth to be told, I don’t think there’s a better singer in the entire competition. The best advice for her performace is probably to close your eyes and only listen, because I can’t imagine what they were thinking when they decited that it was a good idea to let her go on stage like this, her voice is more than enough to stand out. More than enough people are making fun of her as the screaming woman, but she’s truy an amazing singer with an amazing song. My favorite from the 1. semi-final.

Result: in the Finals (surprisingly)

6. Romania Mandinga – “Zaleilah”

Romania impressed everyone with an amazing sontext that pretty much consisted of “lela”, “oh and “ah” in various combinations. Yet another dance-song with yet another sexy dressed girl. boob-bonus for the win. It was all right, but the lalalalalala was going on my nerves after a while, it’s vertainly not the kind of song I want to listen to very often, or else I might go crazy over it. She had some kind of musicans in the background, for show, like the violin from Iceland, but it would’ve looked better if they at least tried to look like they were playing their instruments.

Result: in the Finals

7. Switzerland Sinplus – Unbreakable

Oh yeah, our dear neighbors failed to send a good act to the ESC yet again, but I guess at least they were trying. I liked the boys, but the song itself really needs getting used to. I liked the refrain, it was a greeting to all those people who thought Lenas English in “Satellite” was weird, the lead singers English was so funny, I actually ended up liking it. Nevertheless, it wasn’t good material for the finals, too bad Switzerland.

Result: kicked out

8. Belgium  Iris – “Would You?”

Unlike Switzerland, Belgium had a good song at the very least and a pretty good singer, although she was kinda like the Lena this year… dressed in a confirmation dress. It was good, a nice ballad, the problem was that she was absolutely forgettable. She didn’t stood out at all, she literally vanished as soon as she left the stage. I kind of pity her, but I seriously don’t remember her song anymore. Now I feel bad.

Result: kicked out

9. Finland Pernilla Karlsson – “När Jag Blundar”

This year, finland decited to go with soemthing unusual. No, as you can see in the picture, they didn’t send Lordi again, although it would probably raised their chances a lot. Instead they send a girl sining swedish… for Finland. Yeah, that makes no sense, or at least as long as you don’t know that swedish is the second official language in Finland. At least that’s what our german commentator said, so I believe him.

Result: kicked out.

10. Israel Izabo – “Time”

I honestly don’t know what to say about this. I didn’t like it and not because it sounded kinda sixty-ish. It was not my cup of tea, but I can see people liking it: it’s crazy and different, also not exactly bad, I think, but seems very oldish. Like I said, it sounds as if it’s out of the sixties. Too spice their performance up, they made people kissing on stage. Well, nice and all, but where’s the point? It wasn’t a love song, at least as far as I can tell.  A very confusing song.

Result: kicked out

11. San Marino Valentina Monetta – “The Social Network Song”

Now, I actually feel ashamed to be german, thank you Ralph Siegel for creating this song, it’s horrible. To get rid of “Facebook” in the song, he just replaced it oh “oh” and “ah” and “uh”, I already mentioaned that I didn’t like it a lot when ROmania did it and I sill don’t like it. Too much oh oh oh and uh uh uh for my liking and I didn’t like the singer as well. On a side note, am I the only one wondering what the pilot and the doctor were doing in the background?

Result: kicked out

12. Cyprus Adamou – “La La Love”

They even put the lalalas in their title, just great… All right, actually it wasn’t that bad and not nearly as bad as San Marino, I just fail to understand why they were dancing on a bank made of books. It was yet another danceable song and it sounded kind of similar to Greece, but it was all right, I didn’t think it would go to the finals though. Another “play safe” song with hot ladies in hot dresses dancing on… books.

Result: in the Finals

13. Denmark Soluna Samay – “Should’ve Known Better”

This lovely lady is the daughter of a street musican who ended up in Denmark at some point, that’s what our commentator said, yeat again, I’m going to believe him, because he’s awesome. The song was alright (in comparison to the rest at least), I didn’t liked her clothes though and she was a bit like a danish version of Miley Cyrus. I’m sorry, that’s no a compliment, but like I said, the song was pretty ok, I liked it.

Result: in the finals

14. Russia Buranowski Babuschki – “Party For Everybody!”

Finally the party-grannies everyone loves. They actually only wanted to get some money for their small village, but now the entire of Europe loves them. Isn’t it just cute how those golden girls go on stage and sing for fun? They can’t sing, I mean it, they’re completely off, but they’re very charming and have the oldest ESC-contestant in the history of the ESC: a 86year old. I’m not such a big fan of their song, because it gets really repetitive, but to each their own.

Result: in the Finals (of course)

15. Hungary Compact Disco – “Sound Of Our Hearts”

Thanks to their name, I thought it was going to be another dance-song. They have Disco in their name, don’t judge me! I was so disappointed when it was pop, but I don’ remember it. Like: at all! I think it was some kind of ballad, but I’m not even sure about that. I guess their lead singer looks nice, something to look at for the ladies? Sexy leather clothes. To be honest, in the end I would’ve preferred another dance-song.

Result: in the Finals

16. Austria Trackshittaz – “Woki Mit Deim Popo”

The only song in German and it’s not even good. In fact, I thought it was so bad, it comes second very close to “Euro Neuro”. I don’t like rap and although most of the audience was actually singing along, at least the parts they were able to, and they really moved them, they failed to fo that with me. Probably BECAUSE I understand the lyrics. It’s austrian dialect, but it was understandable for me.

Result: kicked out (and Jedward were actually pretty sad about it)

17. Moldova Pasha Parfeny – “Lăutar”

Moldova was fun, or at least the background dancers were, althought I didn’t ecatly wanted to see their underwear this much. No, no, the song itself was fun too. The singer looked kinda… weird, you know, he was wearing some traditional clothing. Well, I think it was supposed to be at least partly traditional colthing… maybe?

Result: in the Finals

18. Ireland Jedward – “Waterline”

Oh hell yes, Jedward are back. I really like them, I’m not a fan, but I think they’re very funny performers and the have catchy songs. With 4 background singers, you can’t go that wrong, or at least their own singing can’t utterly destroy the song, whichever you want. This year, their song seems to be more approriate for the masses, but Lipstick was catchier, you’ve only had to heart it once and it was stuck in your head for weeks. Waterline is great too, I probably like it more than Lipstick, but it’s less catchy and it took me some time to remember it’s rythm. Other than that, it’s Jedward.

Result: in the Finals

So, all in all, we have these finalists: Iceland, Greece, Albania, Romania, Cyprus, Denmark, Russia, Hungary, Moldova and Ireland. I’m pretty ok with it, the worst songs didn’t make it, so I guess it’s fine and now I’ll go and watch the second Semi-Final. See you next time.

Hajime no Ippo 955 – I’m starting to hate Itagaki

It’s such a shame, I’ve always liked Itagaki, but his rising cockiness that actually seems like pure arrogance by now, is pissing me off so much. It doesn’t make a character better if he’s a genius or not. In fact, with a main character like Ippo, who’s the hard working-type, the genius will just look like the “bad guy”. I don’t want to see Itagaki win over Ippo, not matter if it’s in a match, or in this stupid competition Itagaki is playing by himself right now. Although I’m pretty sure in a real match Ippo would win against Itagaki, because his strength and stamnia would work for his favor (well, let’s be honest: just one real punch would be enough to knock Itagaki out and he would be done for, while Ippo could probably take a huge bunch of Itagakis light punches), but Itagaki is played out too much as the opposide of Ippo right now and he’s achieving things Ippo worked very hard for and these are things Ippo has never gotten cocky for. He’s so much “down to earth” that Itagakis arrogance makes him into a villan, but I don’t want him to be a villan, because I really liked his character before.

There were other people who respected Ippo a lot and I think Itagaki does have a great deal of respect for Ippo, but a the same time, he’s too full of himself and it feels like he’s taking Ippos achievements too lightly. I really want to see him loose and get back down to earth where he belongs. The one who will fight the World Champion, will be Ippo anyway and I’m just waiting for him to finally step down as the japanese Champion and go to the world stage. What Itagaki needs to cure himself from his arrogance is a painful loss on the big stage. A possiblility I have in mind is when Ippo steps down as the japanese Champion and Itagaki might be fighting someone for the belt and he looses.

Personally, I think it would be cool if he’d loose against Sendo in a title match and there’s a very specific reason to it. Sendo is, from my point of view, Ippos best  opponent, because the two of them have very similar fighting styles and their matches are just incredibly awesome when raw strength clashes against itself. If Itagaki looses against Sendo, it’s pretty much the same as loosing against Ippo with the only difference that Ippo has beaten Sendo before – twice. That would hurt. A lot. The only problem is: I can’t picture Sendo in another match for the belt. He has been the champion once (and a damn scary one, too) and I don’t think he’s after Japan anymore, I can’t picture him going for Japan again when he has painfully learned his lessen that there’s someone very similar to himself, who’s simply better. Why would he want to take the beld Ippo has taken from him before, after Ippo retired? There’s just no way Sendo would do that.

While we’re talking about Sendo: what I really want to see, is Ippo fighting Sendo again, but this time on the biggest stage there is. Ippos fight against Miyata has been anitcipated for such a long time and hyped up to be the match of the series, but I highly doubt they will face eath other ever again in the ring. Miyata is not a featherweight, it just doesn’t work out, he has reached his limit in this weightclass a long time ago and it looked like Ippo and Miyata have both understood that and closed this chapter of their lives. Sendo on the other hand, is from my point of view Ippos true opponent, especially because their fighting styles are so similar, it’s like Ippo has to fight himself and this is what made his fights with Sendo so great. Well and… Sendo is an awesome character. XD

You know, ending the series with Sendo taking the beld from Martinez and then Ippo having a rematch for a belt with Sendo, this time with the title of the World Champion on the line… I’d totally welcome that, much more than Ippo fighting Martinez. He’s been the Champ for too long, a boxers life is usually not that long. Let’s face is: he’s an old man in the boxing world by now. A really old man, who can box amazingly well, but I don’t feel any exitement when I think about a match between those two. Besides: depending on how long Ippo will take to get to the top of the world, Martinez will be too old anyway. Where’s the exitement in beating an old boxing relict from whom you know that he has passed his best time a long time ago? Why not fight someone who can always challenge Ippo to the maximum of his abilities, is about the same age and at the peak of his strenght? This would be much more interesting, even if it’s their 3rd fight against eath other.

Well… yeah I know, my wish will never be fullfilled anyway, but I can still dream, can’t I?