“Clannad” is the Best Shounen Ever

Clannad_2

Ok. I got this. I understand everything now.

Clannad tells the story of Okazaki Tomoya, a dead high school student whose soul is put into a robot and sent out to a distant planet in an alternate, high frame rate reality to comfort a young, lonely girl, who is forever trapped in a gigantic field of light bulbs. These light bulbs represent happy memories of the past, and these memories are what make up the story of Clannad.

The first of these light bulb memories recounts the story of Fuko, an emo loli in a mental institution. One day, the doctors find her cutting her wrists while she is making thousands upon thousands of wooden carvings of starfish as a sacrifice to her imaginary god, the Great Starfish Heat. She looses an immense amount of blood and enters into a coma. Her spirit lingers around the school that our protagonist, Okazaki, and his friends attend. The only way that her spirit can pass out of the spirit realm is for Fuko to collect all 120 Starfish, defeat Bowser, and save Princess Peach. With the help of Okazaki and his pals Nagisa, Sunohara, Ryou, and generic tsundere girl, she is able to accomplish this task, see her sister find happiness by marrying a depressed, anti-social, former musician-turned-electrician, and move on to the depths of Hell. Uh, I mean Loli Heaven.

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The Beauty of Movement – A Comparison of Animation and Figure Skating

I am an avid fan of animation of all kinds, and I have recently developed a sudden and completely unexplainable interest in figure skating. I came to the realization that they are more similar than you would expect at first glance. The most important similarity the two share is the means of expression: The beauty of movement. The artistry is in the motion. For animation, this is thousands upon thousands of individual frames adding up to create the illusion of movement. For figure skating, it is the control of your body on the ice to create a mesmerizing program of dance, spins, and jumps. In other words: Movement.

I should preface this by saying that I am not an expert on either animation or figure skating, but as an avid fan of both, even with just a little research, I have found many similarities between the two. So many in fact, that I was simply astounded. This goes much deeper than you think.

Firstly, before I go into more detail, take a look at this scene from Walt Disney’s Bambi and this incredible performance from Yulia Lipnitskaya’s Free Program from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. I will be using these two videos as reference as I explain how animation and figure skating have many commonalties.

The first major similarity that animation and figure skating share is the technique itself; how the movement is created. In figure skating, all jumps have five main components:

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5 Reasons Why “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Should Win the Oscar

Princess Kaguya 3

“Kaguya-hime no Monogatari”, or “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”, is the work of master storyteller and director Isao Takahata of the infamous Studio Ghibli. It is an utterly beautiful film based on the oldest known Japanese folktale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.”

On February 22nd, this film will battle it out at the Oscars in the Best Animated Feature category. Here are five reasons why I think “Kaguya” should win the Oscar.

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The Rise of the Female Video Game Character

Nintendo Girls

The year is 1998. You wake up on an early Christmas morning, run down the stairs in your pajamas, and excitedly wait for your parents to figure out how to use their new video camera so that they can film you while you open the presents underneath the tree. You open all of the usual gifts: Legos, Hot Wheels, and action figures for the boys, and Barbie’s, baby dolls, and an assortment of stuffed animals for the girls.

And then your dad pulls out the secret gift from the closet. In years past, this would be the part where you get a new bike, but this is 1998. You eagerly open the present that, unbeknownst to you, will consume the next decade of your life: Pokémon. Pokémon Red for you, and Pokémon Blue for your sister.

You jam that thing into your Game Boy Color with a fresh pair of environment-killing AA batteries, and start up the game with your sister. After the professor talks to you for a bit, you are able to choose your character’s name.

There is just one problem: There is no female Pokémon trainer for your sister to play as.

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The Objective Christian – “Saya no Uta”

Saya 5

I am often annoyed by self-righteous Christians who refuse to experience something new on the basis that they are a “Christian”, and therefore cannot experience it. For example, if there was a film that contained gratuitous violence, they would refuse to see it due to the violence, or if there was a book with sexual content, they would refuse to read it due to the sex.

Sometimes I feel that certain Christians, in an attempt to live according to their ideals, become so obsessively conservative that they eventually lose the ability to view something objectively. I see this as a significant problem, as it discourages countless individuals from experiencing new and exciting works of art, music, film, and literature.

However, I recently read a visual novel that has made me question my own objectivity. Rather, I have begun to question when objectivity crosses the line and devolves into detachment. Detachment is much worse than desensitization, as it implies a person has honed his or her ability to suppress subjectivity to such a degree, that they have in essence separated themselves from the work. If you are completely separate from the work, emotional connection does not occur. This also means that anything, no matter how horrible, suddenly becomes acceptable.

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Harmony of Heroes

Harmony of Heroes

Harmony of Heroes, the fan-arranged Super Smash Bros. album, has officially been released! The album consists of music from the first three Super Smash Bros. games and features some of the most cherished and loved franchises in Nintendo history, including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Kirby, Pokemon, Metroid, and more. The incredible Video Game Music Choir, in which I am humbly a part of, sings on the track “Anthem of Fire” from Fire Emblem. Download it for free from the Harmony of Heroes website!

Official website: Click here

“Analogue – A Hate Story”

A Hate Story 4

“Analogue” is an interactive visual novel created by Christine Love in 2012. The story concerns a ship launched by Earth into deep space with the goal of establishing the first interstellar colony. This colony dropped out of contact and disappeared, never reaching its destination. Thousands of years later, it has finally been found. You must read through the dead crew’s logs, letters, diaries, and more in order to uncover the mystery of what happened to this lost colony.

I have read a decent amount of visual novels, and time and time again, the same problems become evident. The story is too linear, defeating the purpose of making the novel interactive, the female characters are all empty, lifeless, husks who only serve to be visual stimulation, the writing is of poor quality in comparison to a good book, etc. However, every once in a while, a visual novel comes along that breaks tradition. “Analogue” is one of those visual novels.

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“Ernest & Celestine”

Ernest & Celestine 1

Two days ago, I attended a screening of “Ernest & Celestine”, a 2012 French animated film that, thanks to the brilliant GKIDS, has a limited subtitled release. We can all hope and pray that the film is successful, but considering that there were only around ten people in the theater during the showing I attended, this does not seem very probable.

“Ernest & Celestine” is a sweet film based on a series of children’s book of the same name by the Belgian author Gabrielle Vincent. It tells the story of a young mouse named Celestine who, to the shock and horror of her fellow mice, befriends a bear named Ernest.

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“Judith”

Judith

Download the game: Click here

Many years ago, during high school, I accidentally stumbled upon a video game whilst traversing the vast landscape of the Internet. This game was called “Judith”, created by indie game designer Terry Cavanagh. I meekly opened up the game, not exactly sure what to expect. My initial reaction upon seeing the graphical style of the game was “this is the worst DOOM clone I’ve ever seen!”

Judith, at least for me, is a very important game. It was one of the first games I played that opened my eyes to what the medium of video games is truly capable of. I grew up playing Nintendo, and then moved on to MMO’s and FPS’s like everyone else. But after playing Judith, I realized what I had been missing.

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