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Been a while. Oct. 21st, 2009 @ 06:37 pm
Well, I don't hang out here in LJ much anymore, but there is this one thing that I noticed that wouldn't really fit in any of the other places I frequent.

I just started watching Vision of Escaflowne (the anime series, not the movie, though I have seen the movie, too), and noticed that a lot of the voices sounded really familiar.

So I did a lot of checking. Seems when they made the dub for Inuyasha they grabbed most of the cast from Escaflowne.

(Note: The following list goes Escaflowne character - voice actor - Inuyasha character.)

Hitomi Kanzaki - Kelly Sheridan - Sango (graduates from girl in constant need of saving to girl who kicks butt)
Van Fanel - Kirby Morrow - Miroku (no, really, exact same voice, totally different characters)
Folken Fanel - Paul Dobson - Naraku, Myoga, Ginta, Onigumo, Hitomi Kagewaki (dude's got range)
Allen Schezar - Brian Drummond - Renkotsu, Juromaru, Kageromaru (from handsome hero to, uh ... creepy)
Dilandau Albatou - Andrew Francis - Hiten of the Thunder Brothers, Tsuyu's lord (at least his voice broke before he got hired for the Inuyasha gig)
Princess Millerna - Venus Terzo - Ruri (not sure who this is, apparently only showed up in one of the Inuyasha movies)
Merle - Jocelyne Loewen - Shunran (she played a cat in both, no comment)
Balgas - Don Brown - Jaken (talk about role reversal 0.0 )
Jajuka - Scott McNeil - Koga (and, just to add to the weirdness, he also voiced Hohenheim in FMA)
Gadess - Ward Perry - Gamajiro, Kawaramaru (as well as voicing the cursed sword from the third Inuyasha movie)
Mole Man - Terry Klassen - Hachiemon, Kotatsu the Hell Painter (I see the similarities)
Yukari Uchida - Willow Johnson - Kikyo (ordinary school girl to undead priestess)
Dryden Fassa - Michael Dobson - Jinenji, Saya (brother of Paul Dobson and both got roles in both of these series, what are the chances?)
Yukari Uchida, Eriya, Celena Schezar - Saffron Henderson - Sota Higurashi, Eri (Yukari had two voice actors? it does happen, this lady seems to do minor role characters)
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: none, was watching Escaflowne

Last post... tl;dr Apr. 29th, 2009 @ 10:46 pm
Yeah. The last post I made was kinda long and went off topic a bit, didn't it?

Well, I finished the first chapter of A Wizard of Earthsea and I really don't have much motivation to read further. The setting is rich and colorful, but the characters are flat. The vast majority of the chapter was exposition told from an omniscient point of view. There was very little dialog. What there was was short and usually one-sided. A couple lines from one character might be given, then the rest of the exchange paraphrased.

The writing, from a technical standpoint, is quite good. Tending a little too much toward long, complex sentences, but good. And the descriptions are lovely. But they tend to be flat and analytical. The same emotional weight is given to a battle scene as to a boy's coming of age ceremony.

And remember the omniscient pov I mentioned? It's used to tell, not show, what the characters are like. I was told by the narrator that Duny's father didn't care much for him, but that wasn't shown. It felt fake, flat, and condescending. As if the author didn't trust the readers to analyze the characters from their actions and come to their own conclusions.

How this became a fantasy classic is beyond me, quite frankly. There isn't even anything particularly original so far. Youngster with a gift for magic becomes great hero. Whoopee. We're even told in the first sentence of the book that he becomes arch mage and dragon tamer. I guess it could be interesting finding out how, but right now I really don't care all that much.
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: (watching something on TruTV)

Of movies, books, and the path between Apr. 27th, 2009 @ 04:34 pm
Not all books make good movies and vice versa. The two media are very different and the way one tells a story is restricted accordingly. Because of this, authors are often dubious about sending their precious babies to the slaughter houses known as movie studios.

As an aspiring writer, I sympathize with these authors and am more than willing to acknowledge the anger and frustration when sweeping changes are made to the story.

But as a reader of books and watcher of movies, I also have to admit that sometimes the changes had to be made. There is, after all, only so much you can fit into one and a half to two hours of screen time. The best the author can hope for is that some of the less essential bits get left out or glossed over.

Remember now, I said the best the *author* can hope for. How good the movie is sometimes has very little to do with how faithful it is to the original. There seems to be a general consensus, for instance, that Disney's The Little Mermaid is several magnitudes better than the original Anderson story, which the movie only resembled vaguely.

My impression is that there are just a few outcomes for the book-to-movie journey.

The movie makers could take great pains to make a movie as close to the original as possible, as if to prove that this story should never have seen the light of day to begin with. (I can't think of an example at the moment, but I'm sure there is one out there somewhere.)

The movie makers could take equally great pains to make the movie faithful to the original, with the realization that the information contained in those long tracks of exposition are going to either have to be ignored or presented in a rather more visual manner. The quality of this method depends a great deal on the quality of the original work. (Though people will probably argue on for decades as to whether the right choices were made in the Lord of the Rings movies.)

The movie makers could say, 'hey, cool concept,' and work a mostly new story around those cool ideas. Here the quality depends on the skill of the movie makers, the quality of the original (the lower latter and higher the former the better), and just how rabid the fanbase of the original is. Because, let's face it, some aspects of quality are subjective.

And, lastly, the movie makers could completely ignore the source material and make something up out of whole cloth. (I, Robot, I'm looking at you.) Here the quality of the original is irrelevant unless it was so bad that no one cares what anyone did with the movie, in which case why was a movie even made? What will make a difference is the size of the angry mob armed with torches and pitchforks marching up to the studio gates.

All this brings me to the actual reason I wanted to write this post.

I recently saw Studio Ghibli's new movie, Tales From Earthsea (properly Gedo Senki, which seems to translate as Ged Battle Strategies or something like that). I rather liked it, though I was rather concerned during the slow parts as to how they'd wrap things up before the end of the movie. Probably didn't help at all that I was watching it online and so could see just how much time was left. Takes away from enjoying the moment.

Well, I noted in the credits that it was based on a series of books, so I did some research. And found a rather curious article writen by Ursula LeGuin herself. I say curious because of the combination of understanding and displeasure evident in the work. I nearly said 'ignorance' instead of 'displeasure,' but that would have been unfair. Not all of the problems she seemed to have were the result of ignorance.

The article certainly made me curious as to what the original source material was like, so I just today borrowed a copy of the first book, A Wizard of Earthsea, from the library. Honestly, I didn't expect much, given my experience with Howl's Moving Castle. (The movie was a great deal better than the book, for reasons that could be an entire post in it's own right.)

What I've read of the book, so far, comes later. Right now, to the article.

"It was explained to us that Mr Hayao wished to retire from film making, and that the family and the studio wanted Mr Hayao's son Goro, who had never made a film at all, to make this one. ... I am told that Mr Hayao has not retired after all, but is now making another movie. This has increased my disappointment."

This is why I nearly used the word 'ignorance' above. Miyazaki-san has tried a number of times to retire. It almost seems like every movie he makes is 'going to be his last one.' He probably means it every time, too. It just doesn't last very long. Frankly, I don't think he's capable of retiring by any means short of death. An event that I hope is a long time in coming.

"We were given the impression, indeed assured, that the project would be always subject to Mr Hayao's approval....We realised soon that Mr Hayao was taking no part in making the film at all."

I do wish she'd explained exactly how they (she and her son) realized that. It would help convince me of the validity of that last statement. Oh, I'm quite certain that Miyazaki-san gave his son as much freedom as was asked for, it just seems strange that a promise like that would go unheeded.

"Mr Goro Miyazaki asked me just as I was leaving, 'Did you like the movie?' It was not an easy question to answer, under the circumstances. I said: 'Yes. It is not my book. It is your movie. It is a good movie.'

"I did not realise that I was speaking to anyone but him and the few people around us. I would have preferred that a private reply to a private question not be made public. I mention it here only because Mr Goro has mentioned it in his blog."

No idea why she would think such a question would be private, at least for any great length of time. Surely she realized that the instant the movie was released she'd have to give a public response to that question? In any case, it was a very diplomatically put answer.

"The excitement was maintained by violence, to a degree that I find deeply untrue to the spirit of the books."

Was she watching the same movie I was? Because there hardly seemed to be much violence, certainly in comparison to some of Studio Ghibli's earlier works. Heck, the kid couldn't even draw his sword for 99% of the movie!

"Both the American and the Japanese film-makers treated these books as mines for names and a few concepts, taking bits and pieces out of context, and replacing the story/ies with an entirely different plot, lacking in coherence and consistency. I wonder at the disrespect shown not only to the books but to their readers."

Now this got me very interested. It reminded me a lot of some of the things I'd heard about Howl's Moving Castle, which I've already mentioned was better than the original book, in my eyes. In any case, I wouldn't have called the movie 'incoherent,' exactly. There were a lot of unanswered questions up until the end, but that's part of the reason one keeps watching. To find the answers to those questions.

"I think the film's "messages" seem a bit heavyhanded because, although often quoted quite closely from the books, the statements about life and death, the balance, etc., don't follow from character and action as they do in the books."

This is where I go into my reading of the first book. Now, granted, I haven't gotten very far. Page six, to be exact. But those first six pages where almost entirely exposition with some mention of the balance thing. If much more of the book is like that I can see why the movie, while quoting from the book, would sound a tad "preachy" as she says later on.

"The moral sense of the books becomes confused in the film. For example: Arren's murder of his father in the film is unmotivated, arbitrary:"

She goes into detail at this point, which would be a major spoiler so I won't quote it here. Suffice to say that she would rather the motive have been presented at the beginning as she did with Ged in A Wizard of Earthsea instead of held in suspense until the last third.

This leaves me rather dreading further reading of that book, since it seems having such a clear answer from the start would defeat the purpose of turning the next page.

"But in the film, evil has been comfortably externalized in a villain, the wizard Kumo/Cob, who can simply be killed, thus solving all problems."

Well, yes. Here we get back to the whole book medium vs movie medium again. Movies are very visual. If there isn't anything happening on screen people won't pay attention. You can have an internal struggle, but there better be an external one, too, so that people have something to watch other than the character angsting. Ghibli's Tales From Earthsea have both, and while LeGuin might not like physical struggles with external evil it sure does make for a compelling story.

One more question, did she even notice that the good guys tried to talk Cob out of doing something stupidly evil? Perhaps not.

There's also the issue she had with the skin tone of the characters. Apparently the people of Earthsea are mostly dark skinned. I wouldn't have known that from the first six pages of exposition, but apparently that was her intent.

Now that I have gone through what an author had to say about the movie based on her books, I want to make one last note on what I thought of the movie. Not Studio Ghibli's best work, but a very good watch. Now I shall see if the other 191 pages of this book measure up.
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: exhaustednot enough sleep
Current Music: rabbit grooming. *flapflapflap*

Watership Down Apr. 25th, 2009 @ 09:45 pm
This is a book about rabbits. cute little wild rabbits in the British country side that run from foxes and fight each other to the death. It's a wonderful book that was recommended to me by a councilor, since I like rabbits so much.

Well, I love the book, so I thought I'd look up the movie.

Overall, the movie is pretty good about condensing the essential story. And I love the treatment of the gull, Kehaar. *kerthunk into ground* "Perfect landing."

There are just a few little issues that I have with it.

One - The events after leaving the Sandleford warren are shown out of the original order. This makes things more than a bit confusing at times. I don't know if it would be confusing to those who haven't read the book, but it sure does for me.

Two - Nothing is mentioned of the hutch rabbits after the attempted escape. It is implied that they didn't get out, which makes Hazel's sacrifice rather meaningless. In the book all but one made it out and Hazel was praised as a hero.

Three - Cowslip doesn't join them after they leave the farm warren. Actually, the whole bit with the farm warren is cut down to barely anything, leaving the event feeling rushed.

Four - We aren't shown how Hazel escapes from the cat. He just shows up later. In the book quite a bit more is made of this and considering that the whole movie is barely an hour long I don't think it would have hurt to show these events.

Five - El-ahrairah is barely mentioned after the opening. That doesn't really matter much for the bulk of the story and I can understand why all the mythology was glossed over or cut out. The way a story has to flow in a movie is much different from the way it can flow in a book. That being said, all those stories being left out makes the ending just a bit confusing. And that's on top of problem four. I really think they could have handled that a bit better. The ending in the book made me cry my eyes out. The ending in the movie made me say, "What?"

I just realized that it's funny that there are five problems with this movie. One of the characters is called Fiver (hrairoo). Actually, hrair means 'many' for rabbits, as they can't count passed four.
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: none

Adorable and heart wrenching. Apr. 15th, 2009 @ 04:09 pm
I watched Marley and Me this weekend. It was funny. In case the commercials confused you, it's the story of a young couple who buy a yellow lab puppy. The puppy turns out to be chaos incarnate. Of course, then they add babies to the mix and life gets even more interesting.

Not entirely sure how it got rated G, though. There really isn't anything offensive in it, exactly, but the language gets a little rough and there's no secret made of where the babies came from. Huh.

Apparently it's based on a real life story. I really want to find the book and read it. lol

Also watched Eragon, which was a lot better than online chatter made it out to be. Okay, so the dragons are a little off the fiftieth percentile. The story's tight, fun, and full of action. Now if I could just find out if they're planning a sequel. Or maybe find the book series.
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Watching Clone Wars series
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Life: It sure ain't boring. Jan. 22nd, 2009 @ 06:38 pm
I didn't go to school today. There's a very good reason.

I got up, ate, dressed, and chipped the ice off my car before starting out. I even managed to drive a few blocks.

Then a big, bright red minivan appeared in the intersection ahead of me. I slammed on the brakes but the right side of that van just kept getting bigger and bigger and...


All I could see was white. What the heck happened?! It took me a few moments to realize that the air bag went off. Mainly I realized that because the bag had deflated enough for me to see the windshield.

What was left of it, anyway. Though I didn't take that in yet. At that moment my attention was taken by a middle aged man opening the driver side door of my car and asking me if I was all right. I said yes and he proceeded to try to dial 911 from his cell phone.

So I took that moment to assess the situation. I was in one piece. My back pack in the seat next to me seemed to have barely moved. The car, however, had turned nearly 90 degrees to the right along with the minivan, which had a very large but mostly cosmetic dent in the rear passenger side door.

I also noticed that the driver side airbag had ripped the central part the steering wheel to shreds, there was the broken end of a knob from the steering column on the dashboard, also some sort of washer/nut thing the origin of which I couldn't even guess, and there was some sort of smoke that was making me cough. That cough probably didn't make my response to the other driver terribly convincing.

Then I noticed the little green shards of glass on the dashboard. Why does broken glass look turquoise? Anyway, I looked over and saw why. The panel covering the passenger side airbag and popped up (at roughly 100 mph, according to one of the cops who eventually arrived) and smashed up a good half of the windshield.

It was about then that the gravity of the situation sunk in and I started crying. Bawling, actually. Between the 911 operator, the guy from the corner house who called 911, the other driver, the lady who stopped to help, and the two cops I kind of lost track of how many times I had to tell people that I was physically unhurt.

Now here's the irony of this situation. The airbags, installed as a mandatory safety measure, actually caused me and the car more harm than the crash alone. A *safety* device caused harm. Now, the harm to me was mostly psychological. Being temporarily blinded at the moment of impact did *not* help my frame of mind. That smoke, which turned out to be something akin to talcum powder, and the cough it produced didn't help either. The big kicker was the gaping hole in the windshield. Do you have any idea how much new windshields cost?? Low end is around $150.

The harm to the car, obviously, was very physical. There was much more airbag related visual damage than actual impact damage that I could see. The front bumper of my car was cracked up and there was what looked like a black felt strap sticking out, but other than that it was fine. Strictly cosmetic. The engine hadn't even skipped a beat. The windshield, all that broken glass inside and outside of the car, and that whatever it was on the dashboard however...

And the stupid thing didn't even prevent me from hitting the steering wheel! I didn't even come in contact with the airbag at all! I was wearing my seat belt.

I would love to simply tell the body shop to forget about replacing the airbags. Just vacuum up the glass, replace the windshield, and check the headlight alignment. But that would be illegal. Air bags are a necessary part of cars, whether it makes sense or not, that's the law.

You know what? I think air bags are a really stupid idea. That's not to say they haven't come a long way from the early days when they could blow out eardrums and possibly kill someone shorter than, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here's a thought, if you're really worried about people bumping into the steering wheel during an accident, why don't you make the steering column retract on impact? Or use some sort of smart material that will turn rubbery on impact? Or even both. Use the smart material for the part of the wheel you hold and retract the column.

I think it's doable. I mean, there's already a device out there that can stop a circular table saw so fast that it won't even cut your hand a tiny bit. (There are sensors of the blade that detect skin or something like that. It read a hot dog as a human finger so I don't know what exactly it's measuring.) Granted, the mechanisms are shot afterward and have to be replaced, but this is something that stops and retracts a full speed circular saw in a fraction of a second. I think something can be arranged for a car's steering wheel that won't require full replacement on use.
Current Location: apartment, with a headache
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: none right now

Some things can only get cuter. Jan. 18th, 2009 @ 01:13 pm
Ever notice how so often cute baby animals grow up to be... not so cute?

Take this adorable little guy, for instance.

Don't you just wanna go awwwwwwwww?

He'll be growing up to be *this.*

There's a reason they're called elephant seals.

So do animals that have ugly babies get uglier as adults? Not necessarily.

Aww. What a cute little monkey-squirrel thing! No way you could have ugly babies, no--

Ayiiiii! Run away!

Anyone else reminded of a certain horror movie?

In case you're wondering, that monkey-squirrel thing is a bushbaby. They're some sort of weird primate. (We've got some real doosies for relatives, don't we?)
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: something vaguely classical waifting through the walls

Sign up for the bunny olympics? Jan. 14th, 2009 @ 07:49 pm

I have a rabbit. I have a not even close to rabbit proofed apartment. I have tried several times to set up a barrier to keep him out of the unsafe areas. However, he isn't satisfied with the kitchen and pantry. He wants to explore the rest of the apartment!

Can't say as I blame him, but he has to stay on his side of the fence!

I so need a proper gate. Right now I'm working with a baby fence, a bookcase, and a box. The whole thing is a little over three feet tall.

And he very nearly cleared it.


What he did do was knock the box off and land on the other side. He's done that several times now.

I can't let him out of his cage at night because I'd have to get up several times to collect him when he escapes. But keeping him locked up means I get to listen to him bang and rattle inside his cage all night.


Now, to put what I'm dealing with in perspective the world record for the bunny high jump is 39.17 inches. That's 3 feet 3.17 inches.

I have a bunny athlete!

Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: something of TruTV

Baby, it's cold inside! Dec. 30th, 2008 @ 02:30 pm
I'm home for the holidays. It's been great. Well, mostly.

Yesterday the house felt unusually cold. Mom found out why toward noon. The furnace had died.

The repairmen showed up promptly but there was a problem. A part needed to be replaced. Not just any part, mind you, it was a part that was back ordered. It'd take nearly a week to get in.

In the meantime, they loaned us a couple space heaters.

With those and the ones we already own we've managed to make parts of the house fairly livable.

Dad said, "This reminds me of the good old days. And why I never want to go back!"

At least we don't have to use out houses.
Current Location: my parents' house
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: various family noises

Long time, no post. Dec. 8th, 2008 @ 12:00 am
Your rainbow is intensely shaded green, brown, and violet.


What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You appreciate the roughness of nature. You feel closer to people when you understand their imperfections. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Looks rather muted to me.

And the last one isn't entirely true. I'm not particularly patient. I am, however, very obstinate and will keep pushing at things and people until I get answers.

P.S. Note to self. When there's a change in expected routine for the evening don't do anything except watch the clock. Otherwise I'll lose track of time and bad things will happen. Like missing evening mass for the holy day of obligation. Which means I have to find a time to go tomorrow. When I have two classes. That take up most of the day. GAAAAAA!
Current Location: new apartment!
Current Mood: anxiousGAAA! I forgot about Mass!
Current Music: Battle for Wesnoth background music
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