icons: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Aug. 30th, 2015 07:30 pm
meganbmoore: (noragami: god of war)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 137 x Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

here ) 


Aug. 29th, 2015 11:14 pm
meganbmoore: (eklavya)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
1. One more episode of Beauty and the Beast, and all my summer shows are over. Not entirely certain what to make of this season of BatB. There are parts I really like, but the main plotlines of the season just haven't grabbed me. Also, massive waste of Gloria Vostis and Natasha Henstridge.

2. When Dark Matter and Killjoys started, I preferred Dark Matter of the two, but it's pretty firmly the opposite by the end of the season. Dark Matter just has too many microaggressions against Two-as-leader, and while it isn't exactly fond of rape threats, it came up enough for the show to lose points for it with me. Also, much as I like MOST of Dark Matter's crew, I liked One less every single episode, whereas D'Avin in Killjoys, who I initially also disliked, grew on me a fair bit. I mean, I like him less than pretty much every other named and main or recurring character, but I'll take him over One easily.

Both shows broke out the big guns for the finales (though I think the rebellion in Killjoys was a bit too background for the whole season to work the way they wanted it to in the finale). Killjoys is absolutely forbidden to open season 2 with sad music playing as the camera does a slowmo pan over the bodies of dead recurring characters (the show had it's chance with the "what's behind the door?" tension. It isn't allowed to pull anything like that.), and while I'm not pleased with the reveal of the traitor in Dark Matter, there aren't many ways that could have gone without my objecting.

Fingers crossed that both will get renewed.

3. Continuum is back, though, for it's fourth and final season. I wasn't big on the new future introduced towards the end of season 3, but we'll see how things go. If nothing else, I do at least trust the show to have a good ending. (Though I hope Kiera/Brad isn't end game.)

4.Years after Moon Embracing the Sun was the big Kdrama of the Moment, I'm getting around to watching it. I remember being moderately interested in it when it aired but not enough to watch it at the time, and that it seemed everyone either loved it, or hated it because everyone else loved it. It also came out in what seems to have been a bit of a Flower Boy craze in fusion sageuks after Sungkyukwan Scandal (another that i need to see, though most of my interest is Park Min Young) and it really shows.

I'm 8 episodes in and enjoying it, though in a somewhat passive way, largely because of my disinterest in the adult version of the main character. Kim Yoo Jung as Yeon Woo in the childhood (really early teens) part was really great, and I loved the character then, but Han Ga In as the adult Yeon Woo is rather...blank. I mean, part of it is because the character has amnesia, I think, but the acting is (IMO) rather bland. There have been a couple scenes where the character grabbed me, but they were exceptions, not the rule. There are a lot of other characters that I like, but it's hard for me to get invested when I don't feel anything for the female lead. I don't dislike her or anything, she just doesn't grab me.
Sseeing Kim Min Seo as Bo Kyung is a little odd, as she's also in Hwajung, where she also plays an evil scheming lady who wants to be queen. Though i'd say that, despite the type, the characters are completely different. I actually wouldn't have even realized it was the same actress because she looks and acts so different in the two series, but she has a rather distinctive face.

Speaking of faces, I don't know what casting was doing with the child actors, to a certain degree. It's like they actively sought to find young actors who bore a strong resemblance to the adult actors, then randomly assigned the roles without paying attention to which adults the younger actors actually resembled.

5. Fall shows start up again soon, though I'm not sure there are any new ones that I'll be checking out. Nothing grabbed me when I glanced through new shows a while back, but I might have missing something.

6. I rewatched the K Project anime as a refresher before season 2 airs, and also watched the Missing Kings sequel movie, which was pretty good, despite someohw managing to make Seri's skirt even shorter. I'm never forgiving the series for the reveal about Shiro's true identity, but I do still like it, mostly for the characters. I went ahead and watched the series dubbed and...most of the dubbing was ok, but Reisi and Fushimi's dubbed voices would have made me dislike the characters even if I didn't already have issues with them. (Reisi I would like if he wren't prone to manhandling prisoners and din't seem to enjoying showing off his powers to those weaker than him so much. Fushimi just annoys me. A lot.) I'll probably rewatch Noragami before the second season of that airs, too, though I watched the first season much more recently than my first watch of K Project.

Code push done!

Aug. 29th, 2015 10:00 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We're updating the site momentarily! Once the dust settles, please let us know if anything isn't working as expected. I'll edit the entry here if we confirm any issues.

Update, 22:30: We've been done for about 30 minutes and haven't seen any issues, so please go ahead and let us know if you notice any problems!

Code push!

Aug. 29th, 2015 01:12 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
[staff profile] mark and I are planning to do a code push tonight! We will start working around 7pm Pacific time but since it's my first time, the actual push to the site probably won't happen until closer to 8pm Pacific time.

Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push:

  • Rename swaps will accept rename tokens purchased on either account.

  • OpenID community maintainers will be able to edit tags on community entries.

  • Adorable new mood theme called "angelikitten's Big Eyes".

  • Username tag support for lj.rossia.org.

  • Embedded content support for screen.yahoo.com and zippcast.com.

  • Additional space on the user profile page to list your Github username.

And as usual, many tweaks, small bugfixes, and the occasional page source rewrite.

We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!

(no subject)

Aug. 26th, 2015 09:37 pm
skygiants: Mary Lennox from the Secret Garden opening the garden door (garden)
[personal profile] skygiants
The person I work with most closely at my job is a very dedicated climate change activist, and after about a year of constant exposure I've hit a point where I really expect all Earth-based future SF to contain at least a mention of climate-related apocalypse. (The lack of climate-related disaster in Station Eleven, for ex., which already contains a perfectly respectable pandemic apocalypse and has really no narrative need to pile another apocalypse on top of it, nonetheless still took me slightly aback.)

Anyway, I mention this because one of the things I most appreciated about Alastair Reynolds' Blue Remembered Earth is the fact that it's a post-climate change novel that manages to be optimistic bout it. Reynolds' nearish-future could very easily have been a cyberpunkish dystopia -- civilization was nearly destroyed by unstoppable climate events! now there's an all-knowing panopticon that has everyone under surveillance all the time to prevent antisocial behavior! humans are undergoing dramatic genetic manipulation, like, ALL THE TIME! -- but instead, you know, humans are adaptable, they just keep rolling with it, North America and Europe are kind of irrelevant but Kenya is the one of the world's biggest economic powers now, that's cool! This is all actually very encouraging to read, so thank you, Alastair Reynolds.

The actual plot of Blue Remembered Earth is basically a sort of treasure hunt undertaken by two disaffected scions of a wealthy family of Kenyan industrialists -- Sunday, who's gone off to be a starving Bohemian artist in the surveillance-free Descrutinized Zone on the Moon, and Geoffrey, who uses his family's grant funds to do REALLY IN-DEPTH studies of elephants -- when they discover that their dead grandmother, brilliant explorer/entrepreneur/adventurer Eunice Akinya, has left them a set of CLUES scattered across the solar system.

Eunice Akinya -- cranky, brilliant, eccentric, and mostly represented in this book by a computer construct that Sunday's whipped up as a kind of bizarre coming-to-terms-with-your-famous-grandmother's-death art project -- is clearly the most interesting thing about the book. The other most interesting thing are the elephants. The elephant subplot was the most emotionally compelling thing for me BY FAR and I am not entirely happy with the end of it. (It's not awful or animal harm-ish! I am just sad about certain elephant-related choices that Geoffrey made that are not the choices I wanted him to make.) The treasure-hunt plot also lags after a while; Alastair Reynolds is not the world's most brilliant prose stylist.

That said, the worldbuilding is really fun and there's clearly a lot of thought put into it, and I can definitely see why [profile] setsthingsright has been trying to sell me on Alastair Reynolds for years. I will probably be reading the sequels!

kdrama: Soo Baek Hyang

Aug. 26th, 2015 06:52 pm
meganbmoore: (wbds: ji: sword)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Soo Baek Hyang, The King’s Daughter is one of those sageuks whose title has a lot of variants when translated into English but that and just straight Soo Baek Hyang are the ones I prefer. I typically dislike “woman’s role and status determined by relation to male” titles, but in this case the designation is extremely plot relevant, and also not something that the main character bases her view of herself on.

The series is set during the reign of Muryeong of Baekje, though with impressive liberties. I mean, it is an MBC sageuk. Historically (as I understand it), Muryeong is believed to be the son of his predecessor, Dongseong, but is made Dongseong’s cousin for VERY IMPORTANT PLOT REASONS. Muryeong is in love with Chaehwa, the daughter of Baekga, the eventual assassin of Dongseong. When Baekga is manipulated into assassinating Dongseong by a supporter of Muryeong, Marshall Hae, Muryeong brings what can only be called unholy vengeance down on Baekga. He intends to spare Chaehwa but STUFF HAPPENS and Chaehwa is saved from a fire by a servant, Kuchon, who takes her to the neighboring country of Gaya, with bother believing Muryeong intended to kill her too.

Side note on Kuchon: Kuchon is a deaf mute (Though they seem to sometimes forget the deaf part, as there are a few times he’s definitely responding to sounds.) who was a Gogoryeo assassin who was captured and converted into an agent of Baekje by Marshall Hae and sent to spy on Baekga, only to dump Marshall Hae when he falls in love with Chaehwa. He is the guy who carries unconscious pregnant women dozens and dozens of miles without breaking a sweat, gets stabbed a bunch and gets back up, grabs swords with his bare hands, and takes a twig and beats down a dozen well trained soldiers for the crime of approaching his daughter in a threatening manner. Kuchon is what happens when you merge a wuxia hero with a shounen hero after his 4th or 5th powerup.

Getting back to the plot, unknown to Muryeong, Chaehwa is pregnant and names her daughter Seolnan, but also secretly names her Soo Baek Hyang, The name she had told Muryeong she would give their daughter, if they ever had one. Eventually, she falls in love with Kuchon, and a couple years later, they have a daughter named Seolhee. Meanwhile, back in Baekje, Muryeong is wallowing in guilt because he believes he killed The One Great Love Of His Life, and because he knows his cousin was killed to make him king, which is what happens. Then he happens to be watching his three year old son, Myongnong, playing with Dongseong’s son, Jinmoo. He notices they look almost exactly alike and hatches a plot to swap the boys. Both mothers are conveniently long dead, so there’s no one to yell at him about what an incredibly terrible idea this is. The official canon reasoning given is that this way, Dongseong’s son will still be king one day, and Muryeong will never be convinced to have Jinmoo banished or killed to secure his position if Jinmoo is actually his biological son. BTW, I’m only going to refer to Myongnong and Jinmoo by the names they grew up with after this. He also latches onto the idea of having Jinmoo raised by a supporter of Dongseong’s who hates Muryeong and thinks he had Dongseong killed to get the crown and wants vengeance. I mean, surely that setup won’t lead to Jinmoo being raised to hate Muryeong and think he has to avenge his father. NO, MURYEONG, THAT ISN'T THE OBVIOUS OUTCOME. NOT AT ALL.

Anyway, that’s the official canon reasoning. The real reason is so that there can be a lot of fake-cest wallowing later on.

Moving on to the main plot (gotta love how long it takes to explain the essential back story in sageuks) Seolnan and Seolhee grow up in Gaya, blissfully ignorant if their parents’ pasts. Seolnan is perfectly content as a mountain peasant. Seolhee has a hefty dose of typical petulant "But I deserve SO MUCH MORE. I should have been born someone IMPORTANT." teen stuff going for her, which escalates quite a bit before long. Myongnong grows up superresponsible and becomes Muryeong's spy master in between crown prince duties (In another drama, Muryeong would be a cold jerk. Here, he's ruthless can can be standoffish, but is pretty much relentlessly good intentioned, and only ruthless or cold out of absolute necessity, and has few moments that comes close to jerkishness.), and Jinmoo grows up a playboy who bounces between "I HATE MURYEONG AND WILL AVENGE MY FATHER" and "I really really really want Muryeong to like me and we can bond over board games and maybe one day he'll be proud of-WAIT WHAT AM I THINKING?"

Things go bad when, on a political trip to Gaya, both Jinmoo and Marshall Hae learn that Chaehwa is living there an has a family. Marshall Hae goes to Muryeong with his tail between his legs and prepares his "So, uhm, you know twenty years ago, when I told you I'd learned Chaehwa was dead? Well, I sorta-kinda-maybe lied about that-FOR YOUR OWN GOOD-and have felt really guilty ever since. Anyway, she lives here now and has a family. Including two daughters. One of whom is probably yours. I kinda neglected to tell you she was pregnant due to the whole lying about her being dead thing." speech. Jinmoo's reaction is more along the lines of "I WILL HAVE BLOOD AND VENGEANCE. BRING HER TO ME. But don't hurt anyone. I WILL TORTURE HER AND HER CHILDREN BECAUSE HER FATHER KILLED MINE. Hey, don't hurt anyone, ok? This is, like, a peaceful, non-violent kidnapping. FOLLOWED BY VENGEANCE AND TORTURE." Jinmoo rather sucks at being a tortured-half-villainous bad boy. Too bad he's so good at causing destruction anyway, because things go TERRIBLY WRONG and people die and Chaehwa is blinded with she and her daughters are the only survivors of their village. (My personal opinion is that Jinmoo's guardian pulled his men aside and told them to be sure to murder everyone from the outset, but I have no proof.) Chaehwa dies of her wounds, but because of Plot Significant Hairpins she thinks she's alone in a cave with Seolnan and unknowingly tells Seolhee that Seolnan is Muryeong's daughter, and how to prove it to him.

Later, Seolnan is determined to find the bandits and GET VENGEANCE AND JUSTICE for their village (it's a genetic thing) and Seolhee fakes her death (except Seolnan takes the evidence she leaves behind as indicators of abduction by bandits, not death, and adds AND SAVE MY SISTER to her vengeance plans) and travels to Baekje to convince Muryeong that she's his daughter with Chaehwa.

And all this is just the setup.

Eventually, Seolnan meets Myongnong and becomes a member of Bi Mool, Baekje's secret band of spies, and they totally-do-not-fall-in-love. Except for the part where they do. Naturally, at some point, one of them learns that Seolnan, not Seolhee, is Muryeong's daughter,, resulting in a lot of "OMG NOES I AM IN LOVE WITH MY HALF-SIBLING. THE ONE GREAT LOVE OF MY LIFE IS MY SIBLING. I MUST PULL AWAY AND NOT TELL THEM WHY BECAUSE I CAN'T LET THEM SHARE IN MY AGONY." Seolhee successfully passes herself off as Muryeong's long-lost daughter and becomes increasingly involved in court politics. And maybe becomes reeeaaallllyyy close to Jinmoo, causing Muryeong to engage in some "OMG NOES, INCEST. YOU TWO CANNOT BECOME CLOSE FOR REASONS I CANNOT TELL YOU EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD BE PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE FOR COUSINS TO GET MARRIED AND IT WOULD ACTUALLY BE A POLITICALLY SOUND MOVE BECAUSE THEN MY DETRACTORS WOULD SHUT UP BUT IT CANNOT BE BECAUSE OF INCEST THAT I CANNOT TELL YOU ABOUT."

A lot of the series is Seolnan and Seolhee involved in (and in Seolhee's case, sometimes causing) political intrigues not only in Baekje, but also in other countries. There are some filler bits, but overall, it's stuffed with plot that manages to be consistently interesting, with great characters.

cut for length )

I eyed the series when it was airing but was leery about the "enemy sisters" aspect, and then one day I looked and saw there were about 90 episodes and went "Nuh uh." Later I learned that it was a daily drama that was 108 episodes. Unlike most dramas, which air 2 60-70 minute episodes on two consecutive nights, daily dramas air half-hour episodes Monday-Friday. There are even fewer sageuks among daily dramas than in your average kdrama percentages. Like their hour-long countparts, daily drama sageuks are more expensive and difficult than contemporary-set dramas, but with less exposure and typically lower ratings, making it harder to get big-name actors, which sageuks often rely on, and they also have to film more scenes per week because they have to have an extra half-hour of scenes per week. I actually only know of one other sageuk that's a daily drama.

I actually find 108 half-hour episodes less daunting than 54 hour long episodes. It's a lot easier to sit down and know you have time to finish an episode when it's short episodes. That's just me, though. The different format is that it also allows for different narrative structures. An obvious one being that, if needed, an episode can focus exclusively on one character or plot, without actually losing momentum or distracting form all the other plots going on. For, example, Seolnan barely features in the episode where Seolhee first presents herself to Muryeong, but features heavily in all the episodes around it, so the show was able to exclusively focus on that one important plotpoint without losing focus or momentum for everything else for the week. Later on, there's an episode that's almost entirely two family members who thought the other dead for two years barely missing each other the whole episode, to be finally reunited in the last couple minutes. Normally, that'd have to be split between other plotlines in the episode because a series couldn't devote half its airtime that week to it, but here they can comfortably fit it in while still keeping everything else going for the week as a whole. Airing 5 consecutive days and never having more than 2 days between episodes also means that the series could do cliffhangers and storyarc climaxes in ways that other dramas can't do. Certain cliffhangers are just fine for a 24-hour wait, but not a 5 day wait, so they could end on a rising BAM moment anytime they wanted without worrying about viewer frustration.

There are some things that rely on irritating contrivances, like the toddler-swapping (MURYEONG THAT WAS SUCH A TERRIBLE IDEA DESTINED TO BACKFIRE ON YOU) and times when characters are clearly not knowing about something or being kept out of something purely because ever so much could be cleared up by their seeing something or hearing a description, but the overall drama and plot and characters are great enough that I could usually roll my eyes and move on. I think I watched this in the space of about 3 1/2 weeks, if that.

Hulu has it but, sadly, neither Netflix nor DramaFever do. It is very, very worth watching, though, and everyone should hunt it down and watch it so we can talk about it.

(no subject)

Aug. 25th, 2015 08:35 pm
skygiants: Jupiter from Jupiter Ascending, floating over the crowd in her space prom gown (space princess)
[personal profile] skygiants
I have posted another chapter of Jupiter Ascending fic!

In which literally nothing happens except Aleksa and Tsing eating cheap American-style Chinese food. Um.

icons: Galavant

Aug. 24th, 2015 06:25 pm
meganbmoore: (gfb: cute)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 117 x Galavant (season 1)


here ) .

New Gangsta fanfic

Aug. 24th, 2015 09:39 am
inkstone: Michiko e Hatchin's Pepe licking a lollipop (lick)
[personal profile] inkstone
Apparently, I've chosen to write fanfic during my break from original writing. Let's roll with it.

Dress Me Up (3832 words) by inkstone
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Gangsta. (Manga)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Alex Benedetto/Nicolas Brown
Characters: Alex Benedetto, Nicolas Brown
Additional Tags: Pre-Relationship, Unresolved Sexual Tension, Fluff, Curtain Fic

Summary: Alex has never liked being the center of attention, but her new job means she has to get used to it. Or: The one where Alex buys a new dress and Nicolas comes along for the ride.

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2015 11:51 am
skygiants: C-ko the shadow girl from Revolutionary Girl Utena in prince drag (someday my prince will come)
[personal profile] skygiants
I wrote two Utena fics for Parallels this year. The reason for this is that the inevitable finally happened and I was assigned to write for [personal profile] genarti (aka my usual first reader on anything I write, also my girlfriend).

'OK,' I thought, 'I will be EXTREMELY CUNNING and write a decoy fic for somebody else, ask her to beta that so she doesn't get suspicious, and meanwhile write another secret fic for her!'

Then of course the decoy fic that I made her read for me ended up being twice as long (also twice as incomprehensible) as the secret one, so in fact I ended up giving her more work than actual gift. I'm sorry, Gen! I'm not a very good secret writer girlfriend. But I did save you as a secret fic the one that was actually written with your fictional tastes in mind.

The Monster At the End Of This Fairy Tale

Utena gets dressed as quietly as she can, pulls on her borrowed running shoes, and jogs to practice. The usual route to the school track seems more complicated this morning. The campus has developed dozens of half-built walls and proto-buildings, blockaded off with red tape and signs warning 'SIDEWALK CLOSED' and 'ALTERNATE ROUTE.'

This was the decoy fic that ballooned -- an attempt at tackling the Utena postcanon fic in a variation on Ikuhara-esque surrealism, success levels questionable.

Let's Hurry Up, Spiritual Perfection

“If you say 'believe in miracles,'” Juri said, sharply, “I swear I'll --” She stopped herself, with an effort. She wasn't going to slap anyone, especially not Shiori. It was easy to lash out, but it wasn't worth the cost. Ruka had taught her that too. Leading by the opposite of example. “Shiori,” she said, instead. “Did you ever think that a person could believe in miracles, and still not want one?”

And this was the fic I actually intended to write for Gen! Much less surreal, mostly Juri character study, set sometime in between the Ruka duels and the end of the show.

Meanwhile, I received this AMAZING Capital Scandal artwork:



current anime

Aug. 22nd, 2015 11:43 pm
meganbmoore: (levy writes)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Since the current anime season is about half over, I guess I should actually post about the series that I'm watching.

Castle Town Dandelion
: A comedy series about 9 superpowered siblings who are actually princes and princesses who are required to publicly campaign to be the next king. For some absurd reason, the king has decided that his family of 11 needs to live in a 2-bathroom house instead of the palace with dozens of bathrooms that's available for their use. somehow, this is supposed to make them more grounded and responsible. While they publicly and regularly use their superpowers, are surrounded by constant media coverage, and have to campaign to be elected king. But, I mean, cramming 11 superpowered people into a 2 bathroom house and having a huge limo pick you up for work everyday teaches children normalcy. None of the kids (ranging in age from around 6-17, I think) really seem to want to win to be a good ruler so far, but they are kids. Some of the plots, mainly the ones about the various siblings' motivations, are good, and some are unnecessary (the low point is when half of one episode is devoted to figuring out whether or not the main characters is wearing short shorts under her long shirt, or just her underwear). It's not amazing, but it's pretty entertaining.

Charlotte: The latest "totally not X-Men" anime. Somewhere in puberty, certain adolescents develop superpowers. At Hshinoumi Academy, the student council is made up of these totally-not-mutants, and one member, who is not named Cerebro, has the ability to locate the not-mutants and identify their powers. The main characters are Otosaka Yuu (who can possess people for several seconds), Tomori Nao (invisibility), Tokako Jojiro (super speed, but with no control over it. I actually like how they portray his powers and how destructive they are), Nishimori Yusa ( can be posssessed by ghosts), Kuorbane Misa (pyrokinesis. She's also Yusa's dead older sister, and regularly possesses Yusa, and has her own powers when she does so.) and Kumagami (not-cerebro). Being a not-mutant runs in the family, and Nao's older brother is also a not-mutant, but was driven insane by the government scientists the siblings were sold to , and Yuu worries that his younger sister, Nao, will also develop powers. I wasn't very interested in the first episode and only kept watching it because I've liked most of the P.A. Works shows I've watched, and got pretty into it after a few episodes. A lot of the episodes are the student council locating not-mutants and figuring out if they're using their powers for good or bad things, but it looks to be turning more metaplot-y the last few episodes. fallout from an event I didn't care for in episode 6 caused episode 7 to take a drastic turn in theme (I think someone went "hey, we should remind them of that thing we did at the end of Another! Everyone watching for not-mutant squabbling buddies will love that!") though with episode 8, it returns to the vibe of the earlier episodes, though more serious and a bit less upbeat.

Gangsta.: This series is much more violent than I generally like my anime (more specifically, it's semi-realistic violence), and I didn't get interested in the plot at all until episode 5, but I really like the characters. The three main character are Worrick and Nicolas, a pair of "handymen" who do odd jobs for both the police and mafia, and Alex, a prostitute they took in. Nic is a tag, a person with superhuman strength and speed, but is deaf. The character arcs surrounding the main characters largely revolve around abuse and recovery (I'm really not used to anime handling these kinds of abuse plotlines well, but this one is doing well, so far), while the main plot revolves around the local politics, and a serial killer who just leaves a bunch of jumbled bodyparts behind. I like it, but don't really have much to contribute. Aside from the 3 mains, my favorite character is Nina, a little girl who works for Nic and Worrick's doctor. I swear, this girl is the sweet younger sister of the lead in some harmless shounen series who wandered into the wrong series, proved surprisingly adept at coping with it, and everyone just went "Aww, she's adorable. We're keeping her."

Snow White With the Red Hair/Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: My favorite this season, though i'm easy when it comes to fantasy shoujo. Shirayuki is an herbalist who is infamous for her red hair. When the prince of her kingdom decides to make her his mistress, she cuts off her hair and flees to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines, where she soon befriends Zen, the second prince of Clarines, and eventually becomes an apprentice apothecary. It's light and sweet, but also has plenty of drama and politics to keep things going, and is something of a "simple love story in a complicated world" series. I'm also easy for shojo romances between grounded, pragmatic girls and dramatic boys. The animation is a bit simpler than the animation in the other series I'm watching, but it suits the series.

I'm still watching My Love Story!, but am taking a break from it for a while. Normally, I wish shoujo anime got longer series (and between Akagami no Shirayuki-hime and Akatsuki no Yona, maybe it's starting to become more of a Thing?), but in this case, I think it would have been better off limiting itself to 12-13 episodes. It's endearing, the characters are endearing, and guest/supporting characters having their expectations turned upside down is nice, but there's no real overarcing plotline or character/relationship arc. it's mostly cute standalones, which is completely fine, but has limited sustainability for me. I'll come back to it in a couple months, when it should feel fresher.

And watching Fairy Tail as usual. Not sure where the current arc is going, though I know there was a lot of excitement from manga fans over later parts. (Technically, I'm a fan of the manga too, it's just that I've only read the first 12 volumes.)

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2015 07:54 pm
skygiants: Natsu from 7 Seeds, looking determined, surrounded by fireflies (survive in this world)
[personal profile] skygiants
I really liked Station Eleven, though if I wrote it -- and, let's be real, 'post-apocalyptic traveling orchestra and Shakespeare troupe!' is a book I would have loved to write -- I would probably have just spent the whole book on post-apocalyptic performing troupe hijinks and skipped the thematically significant but somewhat less fun digressions back to the pre-apocalypse.

Station Eleven starts off with a famous actor dying of a heart attack onstage, and then verges straight into scary-flu pandemic apocalypse with all the fairly standard hallmarks of a scary-flu pandemic apocalypse: massive death tolls! society disintegrating! terrified people trapped in apartments! Then there's a twenty-year timeskip and everyone is very elegaic because life is hard and the next generation can barely recall all the wonders of the pre-pandemic world and nobody remembers how science works. ((A little suspension of disbelief required for me at how very much nobody remembers how to make science work.) Meanwhile we occasionally jump back in time to the famous actor and various persons entwined with his life, including an ex-wife who is immersed in creating a graphic novel that becomes personally significant to several people in the post-apocalypse.

But in the middle of all this, as I mentioned, is a traveling orchestra and Shakespeare troupe, jaunting around under the motto -- taken from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager -- that "Survival is insufficient."

What made it bearable were the friendships, of course, the camaraderie and the music and the Shakespeare, the moments of transcendent beauty and joy when it didn't matter who'd used the last of the rosin on their bow or who anyone had slept with, althogh someone -- probably Sayid -- had written "Satre: Hell is other people" in pen inside one of the caravans, and someone else had scratched out "other people" and substituted "flutes."

This, that paragraph right there, is basically everything I want in a post-apocalyptic novel. Hope! Optimism! Despair! The power of friendship! Petty whining and bad orchestra jokes! (To be fair, the petty jokes do not have to specifically be orchestra jokes, but I used to play viola once upon a time so I am ALL ON BOARD with orchestra jokes being what they are.) Much of Station Eleven of course is not that, but enough of it is that I found the book very satisfying anyway.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
For the last few months, this series has taken up most of my reading time.

Set in late 19th century New York, Sarah Brandt was born to to a Dutch "old money" family, rebelled against her parents and married a poor doctor, and is now a widow who works as a midwife. While checking on one of her patients, she gets caught up in a murder investigation and meets Frank Malloy, a less-corrupt-than-average police officer, woh really doesn't appreciate interference from anyone. Through the course of her interfering, Sarah speaks to her mother for the first time in years, deciding that solving a murder is worth rebuilding bridges.

Sarah and Malloy's relationship starts rock bottom and progresses to the inevitable romance slowly, with a number of books stuck in "I actually really, really dislike to always getting involved, but somehow, people find you less scary than me..." and "You are mean and annoying but I strangely like solving crimes. Also, it gives me an excuse to hangout with my mother." A couple nice highlights are that while Malloy redeems himself because of Sarah, it's not actually at her prompting, and is 100% without any expectation of acknowledgement or the idea that she should reward him for achieving decent person-ness, and that her response to "I loved you from the day we met" was "I didn't like you then or for along time. you were MEAN."

And then I get depressed that the state of romantic tropes is so rock bottom that men not expecting romantic/sexual rewards for not being awful people and women not loving guys for being jerks is worth noting.

But, I mean, in context, it's done very well and the depressing state of romantic tropes is separate from the actual series.

The series starts in 1895 and the first 10 or so books deal with Roosevelt's turn as police commissioner (Roosevelt and Sarah knowing each other growing up is also a device used to get her involved in some cases) and his reforms in the police department. The reforms provide a fair bit of dramatic impetus in early books, until history dictates that Roosevelt moves along. There's a lot of triggering stuff in the books, primarily child abuse, rape (to the best of my recollection, this is only in the cases. I don't remember any of the major female characters having been threatened with rape.), and pedophilia, but it isn't treated as easy drama or "that's just the way things were," but as abuses of power. A lot of the case are inspired by real events that Thompson found records of. Classism and institutionalizes privilege and oppression are also a major theme, with most plots focusing either on the murders of lower classes that no one official cares about, or trying to investigate murders among the classes you aren't allowed to touch. There's also a lot of racism, though in the context of racism in 1890s America, not 2015 America. We'd consider most of it to be xenophobia today. The prejudice is primarily directed towards white immigrant groups, and I think the only books to feature a non-white group the latest book, Murder on Amsterdam Avenue, which seems to indulge in a bit of "Old South" and "not all slaveowners were awful" nostalgia at first, but pretty thoroughly rejects that idea by the end, and Murder in Chinatown. I did read 16 books over a period of several months, though, and some plots have blended together in my head. And, I mean, a lot of the groups represented are groups that people tend to ignore were there and on the receiving end of prejudice at the time, but the almost-all-white 1890s New York can be a bit off putting at times.

Aside from Sarah and Malloy, the principal character include:

Mrs. Ellsworth: Sarah's very very nosy neighbor who has an omen for every little thing, is frequently very useful, and possibly has a custom made Sarah/Malloy shipper badge.

Mrs. Malloy: Frank Malloy's mother, who is considerably less personable than Mrs. Ellsworth (but I'm 99.9% certain they'll be BFF in a few more books) and very not open to the idea of Malloy finding a new wife. also prone to giving good advice.

Brian Malloy: Malloy's young son. Born with a clubbed foot and initially believed to be mentally handicapped, but soon revealed to actually be deaf. Thompson put a lot of research into beliefs about deafness and the schooling of deaf children for the time period, and it shows.

Felix Decker: Sarah's EXTREMELY estranged (at first) father who has a lot of money and influence and few problems with using them, but mostly in moral ways, at least in the current timeline. (In the backstory, he was considerably less moral about this, with catastrophic consequences.)

Elisabeth Decker: Sarah's much-less-estranged mother, who initially seems a bit too passive and obedient, but soon gets really, really, REALLY into helping out with cases. She also seems to regard the apparent passivity and obedience as a form of passive aggressive warfare that women of her class engage in.

Later on, we also have:

Catherine: Sarah's 4-year-old ward, who has a surprisingly traumatic and angsty past for a pre-schooler.

Maeve: Officially Catherine's nursemaid, actually detecting sidekick. A teenaged ex-grifter who possibly intends to become a Pinkerton agent in a few years and successfully cons and manipulates her way into being involved with various cases.

Gino Donatelli: A very young Italian police officer who hasn't been on the force long enough to become more than a tiny bit corrupt. He is VERY happy to be Malloy's sidekick, thinks Sarah hung the moon, and has an ill-disguised crush on Maeve that he has no intention of doing anything about any time soon, possibly out of fear that Malloy would very literally kill him if he did.

The books, in order, are:

Murder on Astor Place
Murder in St. Mark's Place
Murder on Gramercy Park
Murder on Washington Square
Murder on Mulberry Bend
Murder on Marble Row
Murder on Lennox Hill
Murder in Little Italy
Murder in Chinatown
Murder on Bank Street
Murder on Waverley Place
Murder on Lexington Avenue
Murder on Sister's Row
Murder on Fifth Avenue
Murder in Murray Hill
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue

Lerner, Rose - multiple books

Aug. 20th, 2015 12:38 am
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
[personal profile] oyceter
I've been hearing about Rose Lerner for a while, but I didn't particularly enjoy the first book of hers that I read (A Lily Among Thorns), so I didn't try any of her others until now. (I have been marathoning Parks and Recreation and wanted something that felt like the main romance in the show, and suddenly remembered Lerner!)

Her specialties so far seem to be: nice people who genuinely like each other, heroes who are decidedly not jerks, class issues, local life and politics, sibling dynamics, the weight of parental expectations, and protagonists who have a very difficult time knowing and/or expressing what they want because they have sublimated their desires, frequently out of the desire to be nice and get along with society. And the last bit seems very evenly split between the men and the women, which I very much appreciated.

So far, there has been more diversity around the protagonists rather than embodied by the protagonists, but like Courtney Milan, my sense is that she is pushing at a lot of those boundaries. There are secondary characters who are POC and gay and lesbian—I am using these terms as a shortcut, since they don't quite match up with Regency categories/ways of thinking—and her latest hero is Jewish! And it looks like the protagonists of her next book are in the servant class, which is nice.

In for a Penny - Lord Nevinstoke's father dies, leaving his family deep in debt, and thus Nev proposes to Penelope Brown, who comes with a substantial dowry courtesy of her father's success in trade. Together, they attempt to restore his family estate and prevent a peasant uprising! The couple is probably the most traditional in terms of romance norms, and I find them absolutely adorable. It also helps that "socially inept heroine who is good at spreadsheets + hero who is not the best with numbers but great with people" is something that hits rather close to home. The book tends to fall a bit into the "wealthy titled people rescue impoverished workers" thing, and the villain and final conflict feels over-the-top compared to the rest of the story, but I liked it a lot.

A Lily Among Thorns - I bounced off this one the first time because I wanted an icier heroine, but on rereading it and knowing better what to expect, I liked it better. Lady Serena, former courtesan and current innkeeper, wants to help Solomon Hathaway find heirloom earrings, as he's the one who gave her the money to buy herself out years and years ago. And then there are French spies and threats from Serena's father and the plot is a bit over the top still. Solomon the tailor (or rather, master dyer) is very cute, but I didn't fully buy that Serena was able to terrorize the London underworld. Good, but I think it's the weakest of Lerner's work.

Sweet Disorder - Nick Dymond goes to the town of Lively St. Lemeston, where his brother is running for office, in order to convince widow Phoebe Sparks to marry a Whig so that her husband gets her inherited vote. I love that Phoebe is middle class and worries about having to wear the same dress to parties and can't afford mustard. Also, she is fat and the narrative is fine with it, and the hero needs a cane due to wartime injuries. I think this is my favorite of Lerner's books so far, and I particularly love one sex scene that manages to be hot while also advancing characterization AND tying up the hero. Bonus points for many loving descriptions of Regency era sweets.

True Pretenses - Ash and his little brother Rafe are con men, but Rafe wants to get out, so Ash comes up with one last con to get Rafe married to an heiress so she can get her money and Rafe can get money for a commission. Despite his secret hopes that Rafe and Lydia (aforementioned heiress) will fall in love, Ash somehow ends up engaged to her himself. They bond over the difficulty of raising younger siblings while also wanting to give them everything and how conning people and being a gentlewoman call on a similar set of skills. I especially like how being Jewish is integral to the characterization of both Ash and Rafe. On the other hand, I didn't like this as much as I had anticipated because both Ash and Lydia are rather overbearing older siblings and I ended up sympathizing with Rafe a lot. That and I wasn't entirely confident about the happily ever after, not because I didn't like the characters together, but because I still stressed about how Ash's past could still be dug up. Still, I think this is probably Lerner's best and chewiest book to date. Also, I love that Lydia is a Tory while the main characters in the previous book are Whigs and that she doesn't get converted and still doesn't like them.

icons: AKB0048

Aug. 18th, 2015 06:17 pm
meganbmoore: (akb0048: kanata x lightsaber)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
174 x AKB0048 (season 2)


 here ) .

Revolutionary Girl Utena AU meme!

Aug. 17th, 2015 04:40 pm
cypsiman2: Armor to block all the swords of hate. (utena x anthy)
[personal profile] cypsiman2
Give me an AU for RGU and I will write a drabble of it!


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