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.

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Stamps

I recently mentioned I have too many interests. Here’s another one: stamps.

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“Wild Boar” from the series “baby animals”

My mother introduced me into collecting stamps when I was very very young and got me my first album. Ever since me and stamps always had some kind of on-off-relationship. I would usually collect a few stamps here and there and if I had enough, I would get them off the paper and put them in my (very small) album. It took me more than a decade or so to finally outgrow my small album and buy a bigger one, but I’ve been much more into it for the past two years or so.

My mother gave me the majority of her own collection, which greatly improved my own, especially because she had a lot of stamps from other countries, while mine were mostly from Germany. Also, when my stepfather’s sister and mother heared about me collecting stamps, they started to collect stamps for me – from Luxembourg. Now, I have a small album dedicated to stamps from Luxembourg, which is very nice.

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An Orchid from the long running series “flowers”

A few weeks ago I ordered a package of stamps from Bethel – an organization that gives work to people with special needs in the form of working with stamps, that you can send them or buy from them. I chose to buy the “BUMI” or “Bunte Mischung”, which is basically a little bit of everything: old, new, from Germany, Europe and all over the world, some already off their paper, most of them not. It’s really awesome! Like a treasure box full of surprises. I found a stamp worth 220 million Mark (former German currency) from the time before second world war during the huge inflation when money was worthless in Germany. I also found some missing stamps of a more recent series, that I really like or stamps from counties like Morocco, Dominikan Republic, Iran, Nigeria, South Afria, Burma, the Philipines, Egypt…

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Anniversary stamp for the city “Stadt Neunburg”

The only problem is… the smallest size of the BUMI box is 2,5kg (the big one is 4kg) and I underestimated a tiny bit just much much 2,5kg of stamps actually is. I tackled it this way: first I seperated the stamps still on paper with the ones already off and while doing so I already sorted out the ones I though looked old. This took me a few days already. Currently I’m in the process of the second step: get the stamps off their paper and this means washing thousands of stamps by hand. I’ve been at it for more than a week now and I’m still not finished. I get around 300-400 stamps off their paper per day. Considering I still have a fulltime job to attend, I’m think I’m pretty fast. I’m immediately sorting the washed stamps by country, but not putting any in an album just yet, god knws what’s still to come and I’ll probably need a few more albums anyway…

After finishing the washing, I think I’ll sort the stamps: first by country and second by picture. I’ll probably store the dublicates in a box somewhere. No need to have 30 stamps of the same kind in an album.

This entire process is a lot of work, but it’s fun and I think stamps are telling a story. They

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“Tag der Briegmarke – Liebesbriefe”= “Stamp day – Love letters”

change drastically depending on which time period they’re from and it’s interesting to see which country chooses which themes. I mean, I’m pretty sure Germany is the only country that will have stamps themed with the Germany Reunification. In a way stamps tell a lot about the history and culture of their country of origin and some theme are so weird it’s plain amazing. There’s nothing that’s not been a theme for stamps. Germany currently has a series running with retro cars. We also have a very long running series with flowers and one with buildings and while those are nice and ususually well done, they are on the less exciting side of the spectrum. We also have a series with baby animals, at least those are darn cute, unlike the countless of stamps dedicated to some (semi) important person whose 125th death anniversary needs to be celebrated apparently, or something. Germany postal services really love those… and on the other hand, german postcrossers have tried to get a postcrossing stamp published for years now with very little success – too many people and buildings, that need to be printed on stamps instead, apparenly. German postcrossers have sent over 5,7 million postcards and every single one had a

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this is the german national anthem written out on a regular stamp

stamp, therefore giving german postal services money in times when less and less people rely on traditional snail mail and perfer to use emails, what’s app, twitter and other electronic means of communication. Is it really that hard to give postcrossers something back?

Either way, I’m working on my 2,5kg of stamps and can’t wait to see the end result. =)

A few thoughts

Okay, first of all: Where’s Yuri on Ice season 2? WHERE IS IT? I need my gaylicious babies.

tenorApparently, everything was planned from the start and nothing was changed in favor for a possible second season. I’m not entirely sold on that, but whatever. From what I heared a second season will be made, if the DVD/BluRay sales are good. Judging by the huge waves the TV broadcast made, I’m hoping sales will be good enough. Since Yuri now lives and trains with Victor in Russia, this is the perfect opportunity to get more background on Victor, who’s still more of a walking mystery than anything. Also: more Victor skating, please? God, this man is just too delicious for his own good.

 

Akagami no Shirayukihime. I mean, I love this manga. Contrary to what I initially believed, I absolutely love it. It’s one of the sweetest romance stories I’ve read in a while and quickly advanced to become one of my favorite romance manga. If Yuri and Victor are a pair of sexy gay deliciousness, Shirayuki and Zen are a cute bubble of innocence. I love seeing them together, even though I think it’s quite ironic Shirayuki flees from her home country to escape from a prince who wants to marry her and ends up in another country in tumblr_nuom06w3vx1qfjlbzo2_500the arms of another prince who wants to marry her.

Either way, the latest chapters are great and all, but I really miss my cutsey dose of Shirayuki/Zen love. I get it: Zen is trying his best to be able to stay with Shirayuki permanently together in the castle where his mother is currently “ruling”, taking over her place. This needs time and preparation. Yeah, but… I remember getting impatient when we haven’t seen Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist for half a year after he was massively injured and the story focussed on something else, before he gloriously reappeared (seriously, that was freaking amazing, but that’s FMA for you), but if I’m not mistaken we’re getting close to 1 & 1/2 years since Shirayuki was sent on her mission away from Zen. They met somewhere in between and currently the focus is more on the aids and as much as I adore Mitsuhide and Kiki and their own little love story, but I really really really miss Shirayuki and Zen being lovely dovely.

 

Shokugeki no Soma took a very sudden turn in events and now it looks like it’ll be over relatively soon. Judging by the popularity of the manga, I’m a bit surprised by that and I’m not liking the decision of this new Shokugeki. I mean, that’s just bending the rules to have some plot convenience. I know that happens a lot in shounen, especially in long running a2bac6b4ce94598a5870839c7355ca76sounen, but it still kind of bothers me. It’s like saying: by the way, the ultimate weapon against all of our problems have been there the entire time, if someone would’ve just been nice enough to bring it up, which strangely never happend. Yeah. Stange, isn’t it?

Saibas backstory was pretty cool, though. Why do I seem to like the backstories of father figures in shounen so much? Isshin had a damn awesome backstory in Bleach as well. On the other hand: Isshin as well as Saiba are some pretty cool dads. I don’t think Saiba has been a very good father, though. He’s cool, but not a good father. He loves Soma, sure, and it’s not like he did everything wrong, but some of his decisions regarding Somas upbringing are very questionable.

 

Ballroom e Youkoso is back to a regular release and it’s as great as always. I don’t even know what else to say. It’s back, that’s awesome! And the two chapters released since it’s comeback have been awesome. Not much dancing, but more character and the right dose cdmkwwcuuaejszeof humor sprinkled in here and there. I love Akiras and Chii-chans relationship, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of it, even after this competition is over. Furthermore we got a glance at the possibility how easy it is to loose for Chii-chan and Tatara. Rememeber: they promised to break up, if they don’t win and winning will be a miracle, if they don’t get it together soon. Thank you Hyoudou for ripping Tataras shoulder apart, so instead of being too stiff he’s too loose now. … great…

Digimon Tri Kokuhaku

tumblr_nnxtm1qtsl1qjy21oo1_500Like basically every other kid from the late 90s/early 2000s, I’m absolutely in love with Digimon Tri. After seeing Saikai I already wrote that this anime pushes all the right buttons and two movies later, it still does. It has the right amount of 90s/early 2000s vibe to it, but still modern enough to not feel “old”.

I think the main reason why Digimon Tri is as good as it is, is because the anime knows it’s audience damn well and the audience is the same audience from 17 years ago. It’s not meant for teens or adults and it’s not meant for just any kids, it’s meant for the kids from that time who’re now adults. Of course this anime is very well watchable for kids as well, but let’s be honest: to understand what’s going on generally speaking, you need to know Digimon in some way or the other. To understand the more specific character relations and plot developments, you need to have seen Digimon Adventure and Digimon 02. Digimon Tri explains absolutely nothing and this is a very strong indication who this anime is meant for.

After 3 movies we’ve now reached the halfway point. It’s progressing real slow, because tumblr_ny4u76golr1r72ht7o1_500we have to wait for months between every new movie/batch of new episodes, but the wait is so much worth it. The moment I hear the intro, I’m sold, I forget my impatience and just enjoy the ride. I have to admit, the second movie Ketsui was lacking the wow factor a litte bit, because it had a lot of build up going on. It was still very good, though.

Saikai benefits from the massive waves of nostalgia after seeing these characters and Digimon again after so many years. The second movie doesn’t really have that so much. Kokuhaku on the other hand has it again, because that’s when the Digidestined go to the Digiworld again. So far, the humans have stayed in the human world, but now they’re all back into the Digiworld! That’s so exciting! And the way they did it, too! They didn’t care about the possibility of not coming back home, because they’ve already gome through this when they were in elementary school. I just loved it when, I think it was Joe, said by waiting they’re just going to turn into adults. That really hit my inner child, it’s like telling the audience that even though it’s been so long and we’ve all gotten older, it’s okay to be a child again and do what you love.

I have to admit the return to the Digiworld, even if it’s just the rebooted one and apparently not the same from the past, because we see noticable differences, was my absolute highlight of the third movie. I felt like my 13 years old self again, being glued to the TV. That was a straight nostalgia jab into my face and I love this anime for doing that. I honestly think Kokuhaku was the best movie so far. We saw how much the Digimon love their humans, how much they all evolved, we finally got a better glimpse of our actual opponents, the entire reboot idea was simple but effective and Tentomons megaevolution was so cool! Besides, Takeru and Patamon … right into the feels.

giphy2Talking about feels! You can’t talk about Digimon withou shipping wars. We finally got a hint of Takari, which was cool. We all know Takari was that one pairing, that absolutely needed to happen ever since we saw these two adorable kids in Digimon Adventure. Besides, their brothers are Yamato and Taichi, who used to fight so much, the alpha-males of the group so to speak, and now they’re totally best friends, but I would just love to see Taichi getting jelous over Takeru for steeling his baby sister away. We haven’t seen anything from Takeru that specific, but he was very occupied with Patamon in Kokuhaku, so he’s excused. I hope it’ll come.

On the other ship that totally should set sail, there has not really been going on that much. I do feel the love triangle between Taichi x Sora x Yamato is being hinted on and slighty teased every now and then, but it’s very low key. The shipping wars have been huge in this fandom and I think it would be cool, if they acknowledged it a bit by teasing it slightly more. Not too much, they don’t have to go the Avatar road, I mean they were just cruel to their fanbase. Admittedly, they were nice enough to clear it all up at the end and even though a good portion of fans was still unsatisfied with ALTA, everyone’s pretty cool with Korra. How often do you have a lesbian endgame ship? I’m totally shipping Makorra and I still think that end was cool.

Either way, Digimon Tri is the ultimae chance to right what’s wrong. It’s the chance to free me from my ultimate shipping nemesis Sorato and finally make Taiora canon. Please, Digimon Tri, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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