Loveless

I wanted to close the year with a post about destiny and how the events of this year have changed me in different ways. Truth is I lazed around a bit, and ran out of time to write a decent article. Now, I think its kind of convenient since It has turned into a more meaningful idea, so I want to give it my all to express exactly what I am feeling.

For now, lets close the year with a great song from Luna Sea; Loveless… I know who will enjoy this one more than anybody else. 😉

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Advertisements

Best Anime Of 2010

And finally, it has come the time to talk about animation. Well, to be more precise, Japanese animation… yeah; anime. All this while that I have been gathering information and writing notes about my favorite anime this year, I have been thinking how tough it is to decide which will be number one. My biggest question so far is: what should I base my decision on?

If a new anime fan wants to know which are the best anime out there, all its needed is a google search and you will get tons of Blogs that feature top 10-100 anime lists. Its not surprising, since all hardcore fans are eager to share their opinion on what they consider to be the very best. What is surprising, is the fact that nine out of ten of these “top anime list” coincide with their first three spots; Naruto, Bleach, One Piece. Sad, since these three anime -although great in their own way- are most likely not the best three anime of all times. Hold on! I’m not going to say Cowboy Bebop is the number one, my opinion in this case should be as impartial as it can be… I’ll try my best.

The problem with most anime top lists is that it is largely based on viewership, which it might sound just like the right way to go about it, but when considering that nearly all greatest anime do not cater to the common anime viewer, you have to reanalyze your choices.

Do we rank a story based on its plot, soundtrack, character development, style of animation, etc? Or do we just simply do it based on our personal opinion? When making your list, you will definitely only mention those anime you have seen and consequently liked, wanting to make a point on why those anime are the best of the best, which defeats the purpose of giving an impartial and honest opinion on if those anime are or are not indeed the best. For example, I have never watched Ghost In The Shell. This anime will never be on my list of top anime of all times. It is, however, on the list of many other people and I respect that. I’m not entirely biased to say Ghost In The Shell is not an awesome anime, I just don’t care for it. I’m not very interested in cyberpunk, only anime I love which falls under the science fiction genre is Ergo Proxy. The same goes for Akira. The animated film Akira is one of the most recognized of all times, and this is not my personal opinion. It was the door for many on becoming hardcore anime fans. And I believe, it will continue to inspire many anime artists. For me, Akira means nothing. I have seen it twice (a “second chance” kinda thing), and I can tell you with complete honesty it is one anime I have no interest in, I don’t even recommend it to others because I don’t think much of it myself. Not that I don’t think it’s a good story, and with one of the greatest main characters in anime history… but really, not my cup of tea.

So, how should I rank an anime in a way that it is neither pressure nor personal opinion influencing my decisions? I think it is almost impossible. It could be done by a professional critic, but how much of it will be his personal opinion and how much will be impartial? Even for professionals, I think it is somewhat hard not to be biased by their own beliefs. After going over this repeatedly, I have decided I will stick to my own way of ranking. I always do it based on how much it managed to entertain me. After all, I am not a professional critic, nor am I writing for a magazine. I am, however, part of a more important critic, the FANS.

As an important critic, an anime lover, and an anime obsessive-compulsive-maniac-lunatic fan, I will now share my own personal top anime list of this year with links to the review and episodes for those interested. I will only comment on my number one since I thought the rankings makes it pretty clear on how much I liked it. Just that number one anime I can’t keep quite about.

Just a quick note before I start; Really, what is it about Naruto? Ninjas? Please…!

10- The World God Only Knows

9- Katanagatari

8- Arakawa Under The Bridge 2

7- Fairy Tale

6- Kaichou wa Maid-Sama

5- Otome Youkai Zakuro

4- Durarara!!

3- Kuragehime

2- Occult Academy

1- Psychic Detective Yakumo;  I was entertain completely. I love mystery, and this anime did not disappoint me in any aspect. The animation is good, the story plot is awesome, the characters are very well balanced. And its about a psychic detective, what more can I ask for? Nothing, its perfect.

Rosier

Luna Sea’s song for this week is “Rosier”. The single was released on July 21 of 1994, and reached No. 3 in Japanese music charts. Is from their album titled, Mother.

I love this song. At the beginning I would mostly listen to “I For You”, “Loveless”, and “Sweetest Coma Again”. But now, I’m hooked with “Rosier”. What can I say? Luna Sea never ceases to amaze me. Well, you have to understand since I have been a fan only for a month! 🙂

The PV is really cool, but I love live performances;

Lyrics

I’ve pricked my heart I am the trigger
(Hu!)
Kagayaku koto sae wasureta machi wa neon no koozui
Muyuubyou no mure
Kusatta yabou no fukitamari no naka
Miageta yozora wo kirikizandeita biru
Yume no nai kono sekai
Kagayaku hoshi sae mienai tokai de
Yozora ni owari wo sagashimotomete
Kono yo ni kazashita hosoi yubisaki
Kotae wo sagashimotometeiru
Yurete yurete ima kokoro ga
Nani mo shinjirarenai mama
Saiteita no wa my rosy heart
Yurete yurete kono sekai de
Ai suru koto mo dekinu mama
Kanashii hodo azayaka na
Hanabira no you ni
ROSIER ai shita kimi ni wa
ROSIER chikadzukenai
ROSIER dakishimerarenai
ROSIER itoshisugite
I’ve pricked my heart.

By the time I knew, I was born
Reason or quest, not being told
What do I do, What should I take
Words “God Only Knows” won’t work for me
Nothing starts Nothing ends in this city
Exists only sever lonesome and cruel reality
But still I search for light
I am the trigger, I choose my final way
Whether I bloom or fall, is up to me
I am the trigger

(Hu!)

I’ve pricked my heart I am the trigger
I’ve pricked my heart
Kagayaku hoshi sae mienai tokai de
Yozora ni owari wo sagashimotomete
Kono yo ni kazashita hosoi yubisaki
Kotae wo sagashimotometeiru
Yurete yurete ima kokoro ga nani mo shinjirarenai mama
Saiteita no wa my rosy heart
Yurete yurete kono sekai de ai suru koto mo dekinu mama
Hakanaku chitte yuku no ka hanabira no you ni
Yurete yurete ima kokoro ga
Nani mo shinjirarenai mama
Saiteita no wa my rosy heart
Yurete yurete kono sekai de
Ai suru koto mo dekinu mama
Kanashii hodo azayaka na
Hanabira no you ni
ROSIER ai shita kimi ni wa
ROSIER chikadzukenai
ROSIER dakishimerarenai
ROSIER jibun sae mo
ROSIER ai shita kimi ni wa
ROSIER chikadzukenai
ROSIER dakishimerarenai
ROSIER itoshisugite…

Lyrics in English;

I’ve pricked my heart
I am the trigger

This city which has forgotten what it means to “shine”
Is flooding with neon lights
And is flooding with sleepwalkers
Ambitions only rot here
Looking up, you’ll only see the buildings slicing the night sky

There are no dreams in this world

In this city, where you’ll find no shining stars,
I search for the end in the night sky
I point up at that night sky with my finger that is wasting away
Hoping for an answer

My heart has been shaken and shaken
And now it can’t believe in anyone or anything
What had bloomed once was my rosy heart
This world has been shaken and shaken
And now love is an impossibility
It’s so sad
(Just like finding the petals of what was once a vivid flower)

ROSIER, whom I loved
I can’t get close to you
I can’t even hold you
I loved you too much

I’ve pricked my heart

By the time I knew it, I was born
Reason or quest, not being told
What do I do? What should I take?
Words “God only knows” won’t work for me
Nothing starts, Nothing ends in this city
Exists only severe lonesome and cruel reality
But still, I search for light
I am the trigger. I choose my final way
Whether I bloom or fall, is up to me
I am the trigger

I’ve pricked my heart

In this city, where you’ll find no shining stars,
I search for the end in the night sky
I point up at that night sky with my finger that is wasting away
Hoping for an answer

My heart has been shaken and shaken
And now it can’t believe in anyone or anything
What had bloomed once was my rosy heart
This world has been shaken and shaken
And now love is an impossibility
Will the petals (of my rosy heart) continue to fall?

My heart has been shaken and shaken
And now it can’t believe in anyone or anything
What had bloomed once was my rosy heart
This world has been shaken and shaken
And now love is an impossibility
It’s so sad
(Just like finding the petals of what was once a vivid flower)

ROSIER, whom I loved
ROSIER,I can’t get close to you
ROSIER,I can’t hold you in my arms
ROSIER,I can’t even…

ROSIER, love myself…
ROSIER, come near myself…
ROSIER,hold myself…

10 Best Asian Dramas of 2010

You figured if I like (more like I obsess over it) Asian culture, then is only natural that I like Asian dramas. This is not necessarily so, however, I do happen to like them. I will explain: It wasn’t until two years ago, in 2008, when I started liking Asian dramas; the culture however, I have liked since I can remember. But to be precise, if you can sing to the opening theme of Sailor Moon, then, most likely you are one of mine.

For this post I will list only those I consider the 10 best dramas of this year based on how much I enjoyed it. But before I get to it, I want to share how I started liking Asian dramas:

I was really into this Korean manga titled Goon, and was looking for chapters to read online when I stumble upon Goon, the drama. I was completely taken by the end of the first episode, and even when its one sweet and joyful drama it does not come close to being on my top 10 list. After Goon, I quickly jumped to First Shop Of Coffee Prince, and then The Vineyard Man; and kept on going none stop following actors, directors, stories. I even went as far as to make a diary with the name of those actors I favored and their dramas. I would connect them with a star if it happened that one or two actors on my list were together in one drama. Also, I would rate them on a scale of 1 to 5. How is that for being the biggest dork ever? Amazing.

Judging from this, then you have to realize, I have been watching more Asian dramas in two years than what I have seen of any other country in a life time. For a Cuban that is a lot since we were heavily exposed to Brazilian dramas. Thirteen years of my life were spent adoring and drooling over those “Adonis” they have for men in Brazil. Then, I came to this country to be introduced to a whole new kind of obsession, Mexican and Venezuelan dramas. Imagine how many dramas I have seen; all those stories compiled into one big massive cell in my brain. Now, imagine watching in two years as much or double of what I watched in twenty-five years… that is almost sad, if not completely sad. Do I have a life? Well, if I were Bones, I would say: “of course, I am alive; therefore I have a life, if not I would be dead.” But since I am not Bones –I wish I could pull that one on you- I will answer with honesty and say: sometimes it did feel like I didn’t have one of those, what do you call it? Ah! Life. I do go to work, school; have a perfectly healthy relationship with a boy and, take care of a house, pets, plants, and a Blog. I think that can be pretty much described as a normal life. The trick is to always make time for those things that keep you going through your everyday routine. It’s real easy, it’s called time management, not addiction, no. Trust me. Some of my friends go clubbing, others like to play tons of video games, and others like taking pictures and traveling. I -among other Asian things- love their dramas. This is why I have named this phase of my life ASOAO (All Sorts Of Asian Obsessions).

The transformation of a relatively obsess girl to an addicted freak.

10. Pick The Stars. Funny, cute, lovely, but is the same thing over, and over again.  Typical Cinderella story with shiny-prince-in-a-white-horse which then turns into a sort of Sleeping Beauty. What saved the drama from being another waste of my time? The hilarious scenes with the kids.

9. Code Blue 2. Medical drama. In my opinion, no other medical drama I have seen beats New Heart. But then again it might be just my opinion.  Code Blue 2 was not as good as the first season, and the lead actor (Yamashita Tomohisa) could easily be compared to a brick on a wall, very cute, just adorable boy, but… brick on a wall. It was the engaging stories of the patients in each episode what made me keep watching.

8. Yankee-Kun To Megane-Chan. A school drama based on a manga by Miki Yoshikawa of the same name. The story was funny, but forgettable. What I loved was the chemistry between the leads. Narimiya Hiroki is such a great actor, I love him in all of his dramas. He pulled the rebellious teenager character very well; he did not let me down and that is something I have to respect. His cat-like lips are the cutest thing… meow.

7. Pasta. A romantic comedy about pasta chefs, what more can you ask for?  The lead actors are, perhaps, two of the best actors in Korea right now… eh,  for TV dramas I mean. Gong Hyo Jin won me over in Thank You. Since then, I have followed her in other dramas. I know that wherever she is, I will get quality acting and a lovely story to boot. Both leads, together, made me fall in love.

6. Mischievous Kiss. This drama is not exactly good, it does not have all the components required for it. It is, however, very lovely and sweet. It makes you feel like a teenager in love once again. It is based on a famous Japanese manga (Itazura na Kiss) although this version is from Korea. The manga was written by Kaoru Tada. Another huge Cinderella like story… only this prince was very abusive. I think what makes the story so appealing among the younger generation is the fact that the male character is such a jerk, yet always does the right thing when it counts… and of course the fact that it is played by Kim Hyun Joong helps a lot since he has the drooling effect on girls… It is the same idea as in Hot Gimmick, another Japanese manga, in which the female character falls in love with this boy who acts like a complete jerk, but loves her right on the inside. No wonder boys believe girls only like “bad boys”. ;P

5. Freeter Ie o Kau (currently watching.) A drama about a young man who evolves from being a loser to a “making it happen” kind of person. This drama best describes why I like Japanese dramas above Korean dramas. Most Korean comedy dramas are about Cinderella and her prince. They characterize by having an extremely smart, talented, handsome, and above all trendy male lead, and a poor not so pretty girl (they want you to believe that) with a strong willpower. I got tired of that when I started watching Personal Taste. Instead, why not watch a drama about a dysfunctional family, and a young man with whom I can totally relate? That is Freeter Ie o Kau.

4. Secret Garden (currently watching.) Okay, so I said I was tired of Cinderellas. However, this dramas is not your typical Cinderella. It has body-switching/soul-exchange kind of thing, a tomboy female lead, and a… wait, wait for it, jerk for a prince. Plus it has Hyun-Bin, and Ha Ji-Won.

3. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Lovely drama based on a manga I truly enjoyed about three years ago. It’s about four beautiful boys trying to transform a timid, Gothic-looking girl into a proper young lady. It’s a love comedy, and it won’t disappoint you. The cast is full of handsome boys, and one of my favorite young actors, Kamenashi Kazuya. The female lead I had never seen in any other dramas, but I thought she was endearing. Overall, it was a joy to watch. It also has one of the sweetest kiss scene I have ever seen, here is the link: skull kiss.

2. Liar Game 2. Taken out of a manga (currently reading it) Liar Game is a psychological thriller in which a naive, candid girl, and a top swindler plan to uncover the evil person responsible for the misery in which those who are chosen to play the Liar Game fall under. Without giving too much detail of the story -because it would spoil the fun and this story is a must watch- the game is design to bring out the worst in people. During the game, the players are forced to betray each other in order to achieve their goals; be it, win the game, or get out of debt. Kanzaki Nao (the main character) always looks for alternate ways in which to win the game without having to cheat other players. However, she cannot do it without the help of the mastermind Akiyama Shinichi, a swindler with an agenda of his own.

This drama is good in all aspects. The only reason why it wasn’t my number one choice is because I like dramas to be less manga like and this drama being taken out of a manga cannot do that for me. Other than that, its one drama I still miss after watching it. It had great acting and story so mind-blowing is almost crazy. I was tempted to fly to Japan and find the author of the manga Shinobu Kaitani, so that I could ask him face to face, how the — he came up with a story so — good.  Erika Toda is lovely and Matsuda Shota is one of the few young actors in Japan that I follow, together with cutie-pie Kazuya. 🙂

1. Quilty: Akuma To Keiyaku Shita Onna (currently watching, one more episode to go, I’m so exited) This drama is one of the best if not the best of the year. What makes it the number one on my list? Well its got everything I always want out of a story: love, mystery, action, comedy. There is Miho Kanno, an awesome actress, she makes me feel her pain. Also, Hiroshi Tamaki, although I can’t say he is a great actor, because I would be lying to myself. He is, however, very handsome and not only that, but sexy, grrr. Hiroshi is tall, skinny, and has shoulder length hair, I love it; Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, anybody?; Johnny Depp in… almost all of his movies; Brad Pitt in Legends Of The Fall… (sigh) I love man with long hair. The first thing that pulled me to Guilty was not Tamaki and his sexy hair cut (coughing) It really wasn’t. It was the story. For me, if a drama has a story involving revenge, or taking justice in your own hands kind of thing, then I don’t need good-looking actors to watch it. But this one had both, lucky me.

The story is about a woman (Meiko) who goes to jail for a murder she did not commit. Twelve years later, she starts taking revenge in those who contributed to her imprisonment. Not just by making their lives miserable, but by manipulating them into committing suicide. Tamaki plays the detective behind the murders, however he meets Meiko by chance and feels attracted to her.  Here is the link for those interested in watching it, and not just because of Tamaki, haha. Happy melting.

I probably should mention those I didn’t have the time to watch, but seemed promising. Hopefully I’ll have time to watch next year; Harvest Villa; Kim Soo Ro; Road Number One; My Girlfriend is a Gumiho; Athena: Goddess of War; Juui Dolittle; Ogon no Buta.

Sweetest Coma Again

It’s a good thing I got the 10 top failures out of the way, now I can relax and completely enjoy writing the next lists of 10 best anything for this year. I’m planning on reaching that dorky side of me and turning into an otaku (if I’m not already classified as one) I will be posting about best anime series, opening themes, characters, films, music, also best findings this year which will include things related to animation, so overall it will be one big animated month. Otaku! Yep. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile, hope you enjoy “Sweetest Coma Again” by Luna Sea. I have decided that for this month only I will post as much music from Luna Sea as I can. It will be like having my own virtual little concert with them since I missed my chance to see them live in L.A…. man, I’m still bummed about that.

“Sweetest Coma Again”;

J is too hot! 😛