dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
Watched the fifth One Piece movie, The Curse Of The Sacred Sword, because it was about a cursed sword and Zoro.

Not really worth all the effort I had to go through to download the darned thing. For one, the animation is pretty bad, the female lead is such a wishy-washy meh character and the plot is full of characterization errors.

Review, relatively spoiler free )

But I've also been re-reading the One Piece manga! And that gave a lot more ^_^

DM's unorganized One Piece re-read: From the beginning towards Little Garden
I have a feeling that I need to "clean up" my impressions of One Piece as compared to all the fanon one gets clogged down with, so I thought I'd go back to the beginning and see what happens, now that we're entering the New World. Also, school holidays and it's bloody hard to download anime here, why not re-read One Piece?

- Zoro and Luffy express an interest in fishing between Whiskey Peak and Little Garden. They're still wildly enthusiastic about this hobby two in-series years and half a world later. I go "awww".

- I remember that I found Usopp's introduction, and the Black Cat pirates pretty boring. I like Usopp better this time round, but the fights d-r-a-g. Might be because only the Captain is there for a reason, and that reason is that he's giving up on the pirate dream. Heck, cowardly and greedy old Buggy has more dreams than that! Compared to the fights against Don Krieg (which, admittedly, I skipped some pages of) and Arlong, there's also far too much effort spent on quirky mini-bosses who don't really interest me and don't even fight in a fun way.

- Sanji and Zoro don't really argue at first, until Zoro "insults" Nami. And in the manga at least, they're not even fighting that much at the beginning of the Grand Line. I get the image they don't interact all that much yet - whiich changes pretty rapidly once Zoro drops a line about being a better hunter than Sanji. Poof, rivalry is born.

It's quite interesting to see this too, because it's such a thing (especially in fandom) that you kind of don't remember how it started or who does what, only that it exists. Both cases seem to be a bit of Zoro being thoughtlessly rude (he ttly is, loads of time. Mostly at the start/end of fights, but in general as well), Sanji taking offence, then it leads to aimed insults. After a while, they're both much more quick to take offence but here at the start, the fights are clearly escalating step-by-step.

- I forgot how cool a character design Bellemere had *starry eyed gaze at ex-soldier punk mom* Also, Nami's background is so sad ;_____;

- A lot of Luffy's silent rages, "weird instincts" and so on that we see here (and which sometimes confused people, including me, since he was so silly otherwise) make oodles of sense once you have the childhood flashback backstory.

- "A hero only dies once, a coward dies a thousand times". Or he overcomes his fears ten thousand times...
I had completely forgotten Usopp's stand against the kissy-faced fishman in the Arlong arc, but it's actually a really nice scene, despite a pretty boring enemy. Usopp wavers back and forth a lot, but when it matters, he's there for his friends. This is the first times Usopp goes back to take it up with a scary opponent solely for the sake of the crew. Well done!

Then a bit of opinon.
I've seen, on TVtropes and elsewhere, that people claim that Zoro gets more grumpy as the series processes. True, he's openly laughing more often back in East Blue, in the very first chapters, but that seems to cut down already by Usopp's island and almost feels like Oda getting a handle on his characterization.

There's also a distinct lessening of freak-outs, from Zoro but I think Sanji too. When they try to enter the Grand Line, everyone goes completely OMGHOHSHIT!!! with huge cartoony eyes and whatnot. There are still such moments later, but Zoro rarely participates (Robin, never). And Sanji, while more easily flustered, doesn't end up in the same amount of panic over unforseen wheather and weirdness either.

Part of it is simply that they've gotten used to weird stuff, but part of it is also how they react in crowds, I think. Will keep an eye on this later.

But, my point was mostly, is that it's not true that Zoro's lack of happy faces directly connects to his defeat at the hands of Mihawk. As I said, he's doing the whole open-mouthed laugh a lot less once they've picked up Usopp already.
In Logue Town, he's getting a new cursed katana = Happy Zoro (they're all really happy in this town, aw so cute~). And then there's the Whiskey Peak fight, where he's clearly internally doing the manly version of "squee! fighting mooks with my new swords! yay fun!"
In retrospect, I really like this scene because it shows how much Zoro enjoys swordfighting. The Strawhats are usually up against such odds that it's hard to judge how much they enjoy their various martial styles, but here, it's obvious that Zoro really likes it. It's like when Sanji gets to cook that elephant tuna shortly before, he's in his element and he's apparantly having fun with this new, interesting thing :)

My theory is that Zoro's gotten more mellow after the timeskip, more balanced, although he's if anything even ruder and rougher... but I really can't remember all of this massive amount of canon to judge that, nor can I really remember how Usopp developes through the series (which are basically the two things I'm most curious about), so, back to the basics it is!

I also want to see all the leads and little details that Oda drew some eight years ago (there's a mention in something like book ten, omfg, about how One Piece has been going for two years. Ancient History, dude), which leads to my next point...

OMG! Such an early mention of Jimbei and Fishman Island! And it's Zoro's bounty-hunter pal who knows something about it!! Hm, Mihawk's words about Zoro being almost frighteningly ignorant about the big world make a lot of sense. Luffy at least seems to have made a consciouss choice in this direction: he doesn't give a damn. Zoro is just clueless.

Hacchan also talks about being the second-strongest Fishman swordsman and, indeed, that was picked up recently. Heh, you can really see how the plot has expanding on Oda while writing. The beginning of One Piece ties to tightly to the 'geographical middle' of things, which we've just left, where a lot of slightly later stuff feels much more side-questy.
I knew there would be parallels between the East Blue beginning and the "second Romance Dawn", but I had no idea there would be THIS many.

It also explains a lot of things about Arlong. Cut for Fishman Island spoilers )

- Whoa, Luffy, you broke the mast off Merry to deal with Laboon? No wonder the poor thing is in such a bad shape if that's how you handle her... No, but it becomes sadly clear very early on that poor little Merry isn't made to handle the Grand Line. (Never have I felt so much for an inanimate vehicle ;_; Oda you bastard)

- I totally forgot that Mihawk and Shanks have had some kind of alteration in the past. Huh, wonder what that's about! Actually, with this and the later big fight and the whole training thing, Mihawk is totally acting like a (semi-willing) mentor to the Strawhats. It makes me curious about his motivations, because this really goes against his Icy Cool I Don't Give A Damn persona.
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
I've seen this movie like three times now, and I still haven't managed to review it. Wellp, I only bought the DVD once, so let's blather a bit about pirates in honor of my first fullprice anime purchase for years!

When it comes to One Piece, I have a very back-and-forth relationship to the manga (don't really watch the anime). First I read some eight volumes, and found it silly. Then [personal profile] lanjelin began rawing about it and after quite a while, I gave in and decided to give it another chance. When I could borrow the whole bunch from A-chan and A-kun (~50 books at the time) I discovered that I did actually like it, and that it took off and became much better after a while.

But there were still too many fighting fillers (god save me from One Miniboss vs. One Strawhat fights) and at times the story just drags. I'm also getting increasingly annoyed with Oda's designs for female characters, which have decidedly not been improving lately.

Very telling is how I've felt about the latest chapters. Extremely miniscule spoilers about the latest manga chapters )
It's not a long sequence, but it's absolutely lovely and like that it made me interested in keeping up with this insanely long shonen fighting series... idek, man, I think I'm just a sucker for Epicness.

Epicness being something that the sixth One Piece movie, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island does pretty well, though it doesn't reach the heights of the best manga chapters. Would be hard to, considering how those often build upon a long and ardorous journey.
This movie also has some really with funky animation - really, it looks nothing like anything else One Piece, but still captures the feel of the characters quite well - and a healthy dose of horror. You thought Thriller Bark was bad, you ain't seen nothing!

I've seen the tenth movie too and Youtubed a bit of one of the other ones, but honestly, they mostly feel like extra-long filler eps or summaries of previous arcs. This movie starts out a bit like that, as the Strawhats (just before Water Seven, I'd say) pick up spam a message in a bottle, advertizing a luxurious pirate resort on Omatsuri Island. Once they get there, however, they're challenged to a series of pirate tests.
Ho-hum, been there, done that and it was one of the most boring non-filler parts too... but hang, why does such a big resort (and it's huge and lushly animated, managing to look pretty good even six years later) have no other guests? And how come an island, marked with a flower on the sea chart, not contain one single blooming plant?

This is one part of where the movie does a good job, imo, as it let's the more naturally inquisitive characters discover things in a very organic fashion. We in the audience always know a bit more of what is going on than the Strawhats, but never more than that we realize that something is deeply off with the friendly Omatsuri island.

Cut for spoilers for movie #6 )

The music didn't impress me that much; I've seen it mentioned positively in some reviews, but except for the memorable carnival piece played whenever Omatsuri reveals more of his Epic Resort, I honestly never noticed it. Which is perhaps a good thing in it's own way, because it certainly helped building the mood?

The cutting of the movie also impressed me. It's made like a collage of moments, where we switch POV's several times (thus breaking up the fight scenes huzzah), so that scenes layer over each other in a very thought-out way, that I'm certainly not used from TV animation. The director has also made Summer Wars (not seen) and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - the latter makes me think he should stick to material with a bit more oomph in it, because while TGWLTT also had a lot of fancy cutting, it felt a bit dull tbh.

So. That concludes my somewhat rambling (sorry) review. If you want to see this movie legally and do not speak German, though shit, cuz it's not released in the US, the UK or Sweden. Don't ask me why, it works as a One Piece film and it's actually a decent stand-alone anime movie too.

By the by, I listened to the very first scene with the German dub just for the lulz, and I can again conclude that German's dub anime miles better than Americans. Even if Ruffy's voice felt a bit off and Zoro's was too high-pitched, the acting part of VA just felt much more natural. Lovely packaging too, with slip-cover and a poster. Just wish they could've squeezed some extra material on the actual DVD. Oh well.

Like One Piece? Like scary anime? Like flat-style animation? See this movie ^_^
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
Yesterday I spontaneously visited the cinema round the corner with my roommate/landlady. Since we were both a bit bored, we decided to see what ran in the nearby cinemas*. Lucky for us, a movie that E. had heard good things about ran in the Babylon-cinema which is two streets behind our flat. It has a nice big screen too, although it must've been severely full of dust or something, because I kept coughing throughout the movie (but not loudly enough to disturb, I think, since E. said she didn't notice).

We saw This Must Be The Place To Be, a quite brilliant movie which I have not heard a peep about from, uh, anyone before E. mentioned it. An understated, touching movie with excellent acting from pretty much all corners. Throw in an interesting plot, told in a captivating, not too on-the-nose-writey manner and some excellent cinematography and it had me from about three minutes into the film. I highly recommend it - though try not to read too many previews, I went into the film completely blind and somehow, I think it made it even better?
The very barest bones of the story: An aging rock-star is bored and disillusioned with life. Change happens, truths are revealed and people open up.

Then today the international club at the university offered us discounted tickets for a concert with the Berlin Symphonic Orchestra. It was their 65th Anniversary concert, being played in the Berliner Philharmonie - quite the impressive building by the way! - which I had somehow missed so I was a bit underdressed. Whoops.

I also almost missed the entire thing, because the bloody bus didn't run on time! There was supposed to go a bus seven minutes past the hour, then another one at sixteen minutes past. When it was twenty past and no bus in sight, I hailed a cab... Still got there last of everyone in my group, but not too late. On the way back, at least the subway co-operated nicely.

The pieces were:
Olivier Messiaen - Les offrandes oubliées
Frédéric Chopin - Klavierkonzert Nr. 2 f-Moll
César Franck - Symphonie d-Moll

Because I am a classical music dunce, I can't say more than that I enjoyed it, had a good time, and recognized bits of Chopin from movies and the radio.

Tomorrow, there's a literature day which I wish to visit. Which means I should really try to get some sleep if I want to be awake enough to enjoy it.... Double-hopefully, I'll actually be able to sleep with my ear feeling this tender. At least the friggin seven o'clock in the morning roof-repair men don't work weekends.


*Berlin utterly pwns Sweden when it comes to cinemas; At home, there's one chain + like 2 "arty" cinemas if you're lucky enough to live in a large city a.k.a. Sthlm. Here? There's like fifteen, at least, and they all show different movies. Colour me impressed
dancing_moon: Gilbert goes "Wat??" (wat)
Oh dear, I am running more than a bit behind on blogging... Anyway, here's to a good attempt to catch up in my free-period in school; not like I'll have time to read the heavy 26-pages article I need to have read tomorrow anyway before I'm off to class.

We went to the cinema last Friday, to watch Michael Bully Herbig's new movie, Hotel Lux. It's a dark comedy about a non-political German variety artist, who has to flee the country due to the Nazis. The latter influenced by the fact that the skit he has together with a (Jewish) partner, is poking fun at Hitler and Stalin. Due to various things, his dream of going to Hollywood fails, and instead he ends up in Moscow, at Hotel Lux, where all the up-and-coming German socialists are living in exile.
Oh, and because the fake passport he had was meant for someone else, Stalin now thinks that he's a close confidant of Hitler. It is also the period of the great anti-Trotsky "cleansing" of the Communist part.

Sooo... when it says black humor? It's what's on the tin, for sure. People are (rather graphically) murdered and shot here, and several characters see-saw wildly between being buffoonish villains in a slapstick/Disney-esque way, and being honest-to-god scary fuckers. Which, on the one hand, when compared to many of the Ostalgie-influenced German comedies I've seen, is good. You can make fun of Stalin, but forgetting that he had loads and loads of people killed or deported leaves a weird taste behind. Otoh, compared to something like Hot Fuzz, where people die right and left without the movie ever really loosing it's comedic grounding, Hotel Lux is something of a failure.

The actors were, overall, quite good (though the love-story felt extremely shoehorned) and while the plot isn't the deepest, it acts well to showcase all the personalities. The claustrophobia and tired "yeah, it's a terror regime but you can't be scared shitless ALL the time, get on with it" athmosphere of the hotel is well captured... most of the time.

An uneven movie, with a thread-thin plot, but charming/terrifying characters and a couple of really well-done jokes. And! Since I'm more used to US/British comedy tropes, it feels more unpredictable

Not Bully's best work, but worth to see. Be prepared for violence though
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
I've increased my social life with, like, 245% since I got to Berlin. The downside is that when I'm not doing anything, I'm utterly exhausted. I think the evening stuff go down a bit now that university is starting, although I'll certainly try to be active and do something at least once a week. However, I can also feel a marked improvement in my mood compared to how it usually is in October- Winter depression talk cut )

ERASMUS-party
On Friday, the evening started in Steffi's new apartment, where I made the happy discovery that if you mix the sparkling whine from Lidl with peach juice, it is not only tolerably but actuallly good. Considering that the sparkling wine costs ten cents less than the peach juice, I had some serious doubts about the drinkability of the stuff...

After that, we made our way to Kino International, where they had a party evening for ERASMUS students. Since I'd messed up my schedule on Friday and thought I had more classes than I did, I failed to buy tickets before and so had to pay a horrible 6 € at the door.

Entering this club, btw, was a very "German" experience. First we had to show ID. Then they checked the bags. Then a girl took our money/pre-booked tickets, checked that we were students, stamped us and gave us a little ticket. Three steps behind her a man took that little ticket back and finally, once you got up the stairs, you could stand in line for the wardrobe. Despite that, it was pretty efficient (except for the wardrobe, but that is an international problem afaik)

Unfortunately, the music turned out to be less than great. I'm no expert on club music, but I found the beat hard to dance to and the clubbing expert in our group agreed. Hopefully next party will be better, though I think we've agreed to skip the ERASMUS events as they often seem to suffer from dreadful DJ's.

E.G.A.L.
Tonight, I visited an amateur show wherein a friend took part: The theatre troop Stageink's "Eine Gala aus Liedern (und mit allem, was dazugehört)".

It was quite entertaining and the advanced level of tech was a positive surprise! They even had a full live band with drums, guitar, bass, cello & piano. The cello in particular lifted some pieces miles above a playback experience.

My favorite pieces were the (German) Scrubs song, that is, J.D & Turks "Guy Love Duet", or whatever it's called, it was unfortunately not introduced. Several of the Elizabeth pieces were also very good (the singer in top hat had a good voice and an impressive stage presence), of which the only ones title I remember was "Milch". Good song and Oscar, the girl in the uniform did a spiffing job. To my great surprise, I got to hear a very nice performance of the wolf song, from Ronia the Robber's Daughter!! I totally didn't connect the title with that song when they introduced it, but from the first tones all the memories came back (and most of the lyrics too). Impressive, considering I haven't seen the films since I was like twelve. Otoh, I watched it maaaaany times before that ^_^

They also performed the Time Warp, which was alas a bit ruined by the microphones not working for everyone, including the male lead singer. Luckily, they did it again as the extra song at the end, and that time everything technical co-operated much better. (is there an English word for "zugabe"? Or do they use encore, perhaps?)
Which reminds me of the only really negative thing about the evening (except the lack of a program I could buy; Matt, plz improve to the next show? Some of us have a scrapbook to fill ;) - a loudspeaker or something made a really annoying buzzing sound. Sounded like my old speakers, actually, before I manage to ground them. Luckily, while annoying the sound wasn't too loud and during most songs I could forget about it

All in all, the show was varied, entertaining and the singing provess of, well, everyone impressed me mightily. With a glass of champagne, it was quite a nice way to spend a Sunday evening and I look forward to the spring show.

Oh, and from a pure geek bias, I of course approve of opening any gala with two Harry Potter choirs ;)
dancing_moon: Gilbert goes "Wat??" (wat)
We went to the cinema last week, on Thursday to be more exact. We... which in this case, I should probably mention, means the Danish girl and other Swedish girl from the language class. We're a trio of easily amused, often dirty-minded Scandinavians, who have begun making themselves known as "Snusktanterna" among the ERASMUS students of Berlin and are working (in co-operation with the He-of-the-posh-accent AKA one of the British guys (seriously, poshest accent ever!) to spread the Swedish word Snusk (Dirty) to as many people as possible during this year.

Anyway! We were originally planning to watch the highbrow masterpiece Cowboys & Aliens, but, due to it only being shown in dubbed form, decided to skip that for now. Von Trier's Melancholia was under discussion but I (foolishly, it turned out) vetoed it due to 1) Von Trier and 2) dying woman, meh. Then we talked about something with piano playing kids on the poster, finally settling for a Dutch movie only one of us had heard something about. This movie also contained a dying woman; it's allegedly all about this woman dying in cancer. But at least we all hoped that the dubbing would be more tolerable, seeing as how we're not used to watching Dutch movies and also, it was starting in 20 minutes and we didn't feel like waiting.

So. In we go. The trailers start running and I tell you, completely without irony, that they were the best part of the whole thing (especially Hotel Lux, as I have a sentimental fondness for Michael Bully's comedies).

What followed where two hours of horrible acting, awful soundtrack, too many pointless MTV cuts and a main character so unappealing I hoped he'd catch his wife's cancer and die. Preferably within the first 10 minutes, please. There was also enough nudity (mostly female, though we got to see more of the lead male's ass than I'd ever wished) to make a soft-core pornflick, though considering how boring the sex was, I don't think it would've been much of a hit. Oh, except the scene where they run around in a wheat field, naked, calling each other with bird pipes - that one surpasses boring and goes straight into WTF?

The title of the movie, btw, is Komt een vrouw bij de dokter in Dutch, Love-Life in German, Stricken in English and apparantly En sorts kärlek in Swedish... Maybe they thought if they swapped the title enough times, some day it would turn into a good movie?

Our alternate taglines were:
A movie for asshole men: Don't worry if she dies of cancer, you can keep on fuckin' around!
&
Maybe she's dying from it - maybe it's Maybelline! This
due to the way the post-chemotherapy woman wakes up after a night of partying in a hotel with her perfect mascara and eyeliner on her perfect, pretty face. Sssyeeeahright. She also loses all head hair, but keeps eyebrows and lashes. Superglue?

The plot is simple: Two seriously rich people marry and are happy, but he "needs" to sleep around. So he does. She gets cancer, he angsts about it and gets a permanent lover. She dies, he keeps on being rich and is probably still sleeping around. Oh, and they have a daughter, but she's got the personality and is apparantly treated much like one of Paris Hilton's chihuahuas so never mind her.
What I only found out afterwards is that it's apparantly based on a book based on a true story. Because rich guys writing about their dying wives whom they can't be faithful to, is apparantly exactly what the literary world needs more of!

There's a silver lining to everything, though and in this case it was Apfelschorle. Or rather the realization of exactly how huge a "large" cup of soda is in German cinemas and that I totally can't order one of those unless I expect a movie where it doesn't matter if I have to powder my nose halfway through. We also discovered that the salsa dip (to the nacho chips) was far beneath our standards, while the cheese dip surprised in tastiness.
dancing_moon: Kitty: *hugs* (*hugs*)
I bought John Ajvide Lindqvist's book Lilla Stjärna (Little Star*) months ago, read a bit and loved it. And then I lost the effing book somewhere. Looked in all the bookshelves, all my bags, at work, in the bathroom etc etc but no Little Star. Hoping that it would turn up when I moved I mentally shelved it and read other things, only occasionally wondering where the crap I managed to lose a book in my one-room apartment.

Wellp. Turns out I forgot it at mom's, in a bag beneath some papers. I found it two days ago and raced through it so I wouldn't have to wait an entire year.

Ajvide Lindqvist, for those not familiar with this exemplary good writer of modern horror, is a Swedish author who 1) scared the crap out of at least half the country with Låt den rätte komma in (Let me in) and 2) instantly made the bland Stockholm suburb Blackeberg a place as connected to vampires as the US state Maine is to murdering clowns, dogs and other unmentionable monsters from Stephen King's subconscious, in most people's opinions.

After that, he continued to turn Täby and Danderyd's sjukhus (where I have been several times) into places you cannot pass during swelteringly hot summer nights without a shiver down your spine due to the undead you know are about to wake up. Etcetera with making the archipelago of Stockholm into a potential hiding place for some rather "Old ones"-ish beings which can reanimate unruly bikers and steal children that come too near the lighthouse.

Ahem. Yes, thank you, Mr Ajvide Lindqvist, for helping to turn my mental map of Stockholm with surroundings into a far scarier place. I like you too...

In Little Star, he takes the cosyest of cosy Swedish television shows, Allsång på Skansen (which actually has an English wikipedia article, I am baffled) and the most boring of Swedish music, schlager from "Svensktoppen"* and makes it into a really HORRIFYING splatter book. With a lot of social realistic commentary, careful portrayals of painfully ordinary humans whom you still come to care for, pity and despise as they show off all their little admirable and disgusting traits.

It is also a book about bullying and how it tears into someone and twists them, killing something. It's the story about the ordinary girls and women (because although the first part of the story is much driven by a father and a son, it is really about the girl, the "little star" and the lonely, abused mother of the family. And then comes the other girl and everything really begins to take shape), the girls that weren't pretty enough but at least kept silent and were forgotten and how much that hurts. Them and those around.

It's a very sad book - it brings to mind an otherwise unmemorable book about film theory, which talked about the "elegiac mood" of some movies. The melancholia, the poem for the dead.

And that's what Lilla Stjärna is, a sad book written about those that are, either physically or spiritually dead from the very beginning of the book and how they bring over this deadness to the little girls until they are as broken as the adults around them. It is this by telling the story of an uncanny girl with the most perfect voice imaginable and the tragic massacre that happens when others keep trying to mold her into a money-making tool - and it does it very, very well.

If you can, read Lindqvist, he is one of the most interesting writers (horror and otherwise) I have encountered lately.

* as in the lullaby, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
** Svensktoppen charts the most popular Swedish music and, since it until recently only played songs in Swedish, it was dominated by "dance band" music. Which is the spiritual twin of country, basically, though they don't sound very alike.
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
I finally finished this book! For some bloody reason, I kept losing it! Put it down in a bookbag to read to work, forget the book on my desk, finally bring it home 3 days later, put that (different) book bag down and cover it with laundry or other stuff... rinse and repeat.

The book in question is acclaimed German YA novel Tintenherz / Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke. I'd borrowed it a while ago from my dear Miko-chan, to read as one of several attempts to de-rust my language skills. Since Miko-chan is visiting me right now and will leave early on Wednesday - and tomorrow we're seeing Gackt - it was read under a bit of time pressure, if I put it like that.

However, the end of the book went by quickly. Since it is a YA novel, the language level wasn't very challenging to me; what I had trouble with is that about the first half of the book feels like characters just hurrying back and fort without anything much happening. I already knew the "secret" of Zauberzunge (Silver Tongue in English), spoiler ) and while I am not usually very spoiler-sensitive, that annoyed me. Especially since the characters didn't much grip me either. Meggie is a believable little girl, but not very captivating (or active, for much of the book), her father annoyed me, Staubfinger (Dustfinger) started off as the most interesting person in the book but then just went betrayer-no-wait-maybe-not for too long... Basically, the whole thing dragged. It also consists of like eleventyhundred (ok, maybe not) chapters, which sometimes feel like they appear just so Funke can have a nice little quote from a much better children's book at the beginning.

Once they've been captured by the villain the second time, iirc, things finally start moving and the end is not bad at all. But the journey there? Too slow; I'm not planning on reading the sequels unless I'm really bored.

Next to finish: the comic Five Star Stories which have to be returned on Friday, and then Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Ahhh I am slipping behind with my reading blog. I've pretty much given up on writing something about all the manga I read, because I read too damn much manga (also, what to say about wol 14 of umtpysomething of 20th Century Boys - or worse, Chi's Sweet Home? Still good, still buying, next!)

Anyway. To start off with, Jim Butcher's Ghost Story is not properly published and the short article I wrote for work is up on the homepage of the geeky bookstore (in Swedish). I've written a longer one too, which will go up as "Tip of the Month: Urban Fantasy" soon(ish), if I remember I'll link to that one too =)

Talking about urban fantasy, the other day I finally had the time to sit down and finish a book that has been on the "To read"-list for an embarrasingly long time. I read Udda Verklighet )

The reason I finished Udda Verklighet was btw that I spent about three hours waiting for poor _shown_ at the Central Station. Where did he spend these hours? Stuck on a train - in Gnesta of all places! Someone threatened to jump down onto the tracks that go into Stockholm, so they had to stop all traffic and it was a massive brouhaha. The first hour and a half went buy quickly, as I spent it with [personal profile] lanjelin and Maria at a café, but I was reeeally glad to have a good book when they had to go home :)

And today? Today, I carried books. LOADS AND LOADS OF BOOKS. One bookshelf emptied and moved down into my basement, only 3 left to empty ;_; At least tt's the only bookshelf I have to actually move, since I'm renting out the apartment furnished.

However, in the evening, my mother treated me (Well, actually Sho. I just got to come along too ;) to a fancy dinner, so all's well that ends well.
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
So my sleep is just friggin messed up right now. I mean seriously. And I gotta try and fix it til Monday because I have to work tomorrow, so that is a bit tricky.

Anyway. On Friday, I had to drag myself out of the apartment to go to school anyway, so I agreed to watch Pirates of the Carribbean - On Stranger Tides with A-chan and A-kun, hoping that if I doped up on enough cough medication I wouldn't ruin the experience for everyone. And I don't think I did! I got one bad attack but it was during one of the (many) long, loud and messy fight scenes, and my inhalator calmed it down quickly ^^

I liked the movie pretty well, even if the plot wasn't all that interesting. But this piratey magical world they're creating, it appeals to me. And the movie felt a lot less convoluted and long than the previous two (although there were big chunks of movie III that I also liked, since I obviously have no taste)

Possibly spoilers )

And then I have watched Doctor Who. Blow my mind much? Yes.
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
I usually am of the "you will have to take this from my cold, dead hands" when it comes to computers. But as mine is borked and mother was kind enough to lend me her, it felt a bit awkward to start complaining when she needs it returned. I'll just move into the school library for a week or two Also, I have a ton of books to read so it's just good for me to go offline

Yesterday I delivered the computer and watched Moon which almost completely lives up the hype. Interesting, thoughful science fiction movie which manages to tell an engaging story and uses its setting perfectly, without drowning in effects or techno-babble. I mean, what I love about sci-fi movies, is when they manage to tell a story which you really couldn't tell with a completely realistic scenario, but treat the issues and the characters with as much respect as any other character. Something like Avatar, which was basically Pocahontas Dances with Wolves in Space, doesn't really use the technological advances and presence of another species to tell a new story. It only throws on a lot of (beautiful, granted) visuals to re-tell something which could pretty much be told in a historical drama. Sure, you can't put the legs back on an amputee in that setting, but it's not like the movies spends much time thinking about that issue

Moon, otoh, uses two sci-fi elements to discuss one timeless and one extremely modern issue:
- The utter isolation of a station on the moon - could be replaced by, for instance, a lighthouse
- Spoiler )
- The timeless issue: Isolation, alienation and existenial terror. What to do if I see myself, truly?
- The modern issue: Ultra-capitalism, slimmed productions and what that means

The technology carries the plot, but the plot isn't about these techs - they're not pointed out as "OMG!! How fresh and new!" It's not like a moon base is common in the movie either, but you can clearly see that it's been there for a while, it's not an experiment or so. Especially not the the poor bastard living there...

Anyway, really good movie! And nice use of silence in some parts! The use and not-use of music was a bit destroyed for me because my sister insisted on playing her radio loudly and my mother's house is about as sound-proof as a tent, but I noticed and liked it.

Um. I am also reading a lot of books for class. I bought another Eyeshield 21 lately, and I think that'll have to be the last one. We've got the Hiruma-Agon-Kid moment in the car, so what's left is tedious filler games, some disconcerting racism and... that's about it. Absolutely an issue of manga artists drawing a few extra volumes more than they have inspiration for, just for the bucks.
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
So I finished another Torchwood book. That took only, what, eight months?

This one, Trace Memory by David Llewellyn was better in terms of characerization and mood moments than actual plot. The Torchwood team have an encounter with an involuntary time-traveler during multiple points of their lives.

It's actually quite a sweet and sad story, much like the fairy episode tried to be (and credit where credit is due, managed pretty well until the ugly CGI fairies turned up)

Slight spoiler )

The monstruous aliens are pretty blaha, but on the cover of the book they look suitably creepy. What drags this book down a bit is that it rehashes a lot of Whoniverse tropes (exactly how many "one of the most ancient races of the universe!" species are there, exactly?) and the plot isn't very tight. Lots of timey-wimey, which is normally one of those things I love, but not structured to it's best way. Also, the resolution and all falls a bit flat, plotwise, though it has a nice emotional payoff.

Worth a read, though, especially if one likes Jack Harkness and wants to see him act a bit decent.

Also, have started to use Spotify a bit more. If anyone has recs for not immediately obvious music to be found there that sounds good, do let me know! My most recent find was a nice version of Puttin' On the Ritz which didn't come with the super long end part. Done by Alex Swings Oscar Sings and yeees, they're the ones responsible for the Dita von Teese visit during the Eurovision contest. And the sparkly silver pants, I know, I know. I still liked their song.
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
I'd like to preface that I am, actually, occasionally a mature and responsible adult. See, justs this week I met up with [livejournal.com profile] alitna to write. Alas, I was just exhausted after working a full day while still a bit ill and couldn't think of anything to write. But! Instead of faffing around on the net, I checked up things with CSN and filled in forms for my exchange year, quite responsible of me, yes?

And then there's times like yesternight, when I sat up to 03:33 (yep, exactly, I checked my clock) because I couldn't put down Elizabeth Moon's Kings of the North. No, I did not wake up at nine o'clock like planned to do laundry and go shopping early...

This is the second book in the Paladin's Legacy trilogy which is a sequel to the trilogy The Deed of Paksenarrion. The original trilogy is a real classic and a well-deserved one. Excellent female main character, manages to have religious themes and characters that don't bug the hell out of me, interesting plot, detailed world-building with a lot of attention to soldiers and more regular people (Moon has thought of how the plumbing works. Extensively) and enchanted me when I was a teen and still holds up very well for adult readers who have read several good works in the high fantasy genre.

And Paks - Well, Paks was just awesomesauce cool to my younger self. Her, and Kushana from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind were what I wanted to be if I ever got transported to magic land and learned sword fighting XD (only, with less background angst than Kushana, plz)

The Paladin's Legacy books are... weeeell, the first one was nice but a bit confusing since we don't follow one focus character in the same way as in the first books. And Kings of the North? I'm sorry to say that, while I had no problem keeping all the people apart, the overall plot structure in especially the later half of the book disappointed me a bit.

When I can start to see patterns and guess what's going to happen past 02:00, you're heading into dangerously easily-solved territory, ok?

I mean, there are a lot of concepts in this book I like - how things were set in movement by Paks, and not neccessarily by those events that impacted her personal development the most. Dorrin is a great character, and a very unusual type! A somewhat older woman (40-45ish) who gains a great amount of power and yields it with power, compassion and cool logic. That she is the second most prominent character in this trilogy so far makes me very happy.
And then there's Phelan, whom I just adored in the original books. He then had slight hints of Vetinari's characterization around him, although not at all as brilliant and all-knowing. He also has a very interesting backstory and many faults, which of course really come into play here as the books focus a lot on him.

But. Exactly like with the end of the Serrano Legacy* things just... fall into place far too easily during the final. We get new characters who more or less drop into the plot and wrap things up, we get a very rushed romantic subplot and a character makes some weird good-to-evil/no wait!/heel-face-turn I don't even really know journey.

Take the romance, (which, all righ, was slightly hinted): But that minor hint somehow morph into an almost shoujo manga-esque Love at first sight!! thing. Take note, Moon and JKR: Just because you know the characters love each other, doesn't mean the readers do. Have them bloody interact a bit more. At least this couple talks on a few pages and have a practice fight)

Spoilers ahoy )

The portrayal of the Pargunese was also a bit bwuh to me, but to be honest, I was too tired to properly consider the exact implications at that time.

Kings of the NorthAlso, let's talk about the cover for a moment! Because, see, this is a rather high-profile fantasy book. Not quite as big as the latest Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, but large enough that they ship an impressive stack of hardcovers. They're also for some unknown reason (which I much appreciate :) release the trade paperback at the same time, so I don't have to wait six months to read about Phelan and the others' adventures.

All that taken to mind, it really surprises me that they couldn't fix a cover which contains a character actually in the book. See the picture there? That's Aragorn It's definitely not Paks, nor is it Dorrin, seeing as how they are women. (though Dorrin is probably on the cover of book one, Oath of Fealty, at least it's close to her colors).
Taken together with the title, I would assume the cover to contain either the king of Lyonya or Mikeli, the king of Tsaia. The latter, alas, is a young man just grown into maturity and he doesn't do any fighting in this book. Spoiler for the Paksenarrion trilogy )

So, all right, I've whined a lot about Kings of the North now. However, Paladin's Legacy is still 2/3 into the series, absolutely among the better half of fantasy literature that's out there to read. It's not as good as the amazing first trilogy, but until the big wrap-up which contains a bit too much fixit moments for my taste, it is quite interesting. What Moon does well is, among others, that she does not forget the non-kingly characters - the soldiers, the servants, the elderly who remember things. We also meet characters like the Duke of Andressat again and, I have to say, I never expected to like the old snob as much as I did now. Actions from the past have consequences, such that can't be just removed with a bit of magic.

Will I buy the next book? Oh yeah. Will I rec this book series to people? Oh yeah - And I usually anti-rec the Gird prequel to Paksenarrion, because that is just dull in great bits. But, for all the faults here, there are still many great characters and an underlying highly interesting plot thread that I think might remake the world of these characters a great deal.

And now I really gotta go and buy a fuse because one blew yesterday and I have no light in my (windowless) bedroom.

*I only bought one of the omnibuses, dunno exactly which books it contains
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Whohoo! Today three good manga had arrived, just in time as the train broke down (again) and I thus had to spend a cold half hour at Södra station. But reading makes time fly - sometimes a bit too much, as I almost missed my stop. Lucky for me, alitna said hi and alerted me to the fact that it was time to go out in the cold again.

It's The Legend of Saiunkoku #2, Petshop of Horrors Tokyo #8 and Eyeshield 21 #34 that I bought today. My ranking turned out to be quite the opposite of what I expected, with the last chapter of the Christmas Bowl match clocking in as the undisputed best of the bunch.

Read more... )

Oh, and I've begun to read Mark Watches Doctor Who, very entertaining!
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
As the header says, Christmas is over and I feel fine =) Nah, it was really low stress this year, at least from the Yule-ish part. The rest of my life is a bit too stressy, I think, as I'm getting tension headaches and have trouble falling asleep again. Will try to go swimming and relax a bit more soonish

While at mom's, we watched Die Päpstin (int. title Pope Joan) about Johanna from Ingelheim who disguises herself as a man and becomes pope during the ninth century. It was good, but pretty damn depressing in bits, although it also contained some funny scenes. And Faramir was in it! Basically reprising his role (alright, he got a romance here) as the somewhat smart guy who walks around angsting because everyone is either a creep or a hero ^_^;;

Anyway, recommended, though beware spoiler for the beginning of the movie: )

The lady pope also looks very otherworldly and cool in the final scenes, they really make her shine with some kind of "inner strenght"

Then I watched the Swedish black comedy Tomten är far till alla barnen (eng. Santa is father to all the children). Yes, like ten years after everyone else in this country... We're not much for Swedish film in my family, tbh.

In a misguided attempt at holiday cheer, Sara invites her three ex-partners and their families to celebrate Christmas with her new partner and the kids (who seem to come one from each partnership?) Then, as people start drinking, secrets are revealed, jealousy rears its ugly head and it all becomes utterly horrible.

It is interesting that with a few exceptions, the only tolerable Swedish comedies are the ones that are also tragedies. And this one is both 1) good and 2) very tragocomic
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Stay close to meSee, there is yaoi which does contain complex characters and more-or-less realistic view of what a gay relationship might entail - see for instance Fumi Yoshinagas Ichigenme.. The First Class is Civil Law for instance. There are plenty of manga that pick apart and consider gender roles, expectations and queerness - See Setona Mizushiro and her work. They're mostly untranslated, alas, but I am reliably informed that After School Nightmare is along those lines

Aaaand then there's the stuff like today's haul: Stay Close to Me by Yaya Sakuragi and Target in the Viewfinder by Ayano Yamane....

The first one is pure fluff. Cute and really funny fluff, tho! Which, lemme tell you, is amaaaazingly hard to find, since most yaoi authors are completely unable to write comedy to save their lives and think that two guys moping about due to silly misunderstandings for 40 pages = drama.
I was not very surprised when I got home and checked the author name against the shelf, finding that it was the same creator as Tea for Two - the drawing style is similar and they're both genuinly funny. While there is still one top and one bottom, Sakuragi prefers to play around a bit with the seme/uke conventions.
Here, we have the childhood friends, one of which has grown into an ~otomen~, that is a maidenly lad who loves cooking and dreams of becoming a housewife, while the other is a strict, martial arts practitioner. Alas, the otomen has grown TALLER than his crush-for-years, oh noes!! But it's okay, because they've been together and love each other, even though the uke didn't quite realize that until another guy started hitting on him and everyone thinks they're both so cute together

This is the mental equivalent of eating chocolate cake with whipped cream for dinner /grabs spoon/
What can I say? Om nom nom, I love my chocolate cake!

And Viewfinder, does that really need an introduction these days...? Oh, all right. The one redeeming feature of this manga is that the smut is pretty well-done. )

In conclusion: My reward to myself for acing my exam & having worked my arse off this week: One heaping of ♥ fluff ♥ and one kinky smut-collection, thx!

(On a finishing note, if you're turned off yaoi because the overwhelming amount of non-con themes, I can really recommend Stay Close to Me. They're both very obviously in love with each other and though the uke is shy and whatnot, he does react with enthusiasm every time they have sex)
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
[insert maniacal laughter of the Mwahahaha- variant here]

With school, and work, and tons of other brain-exhausting things that needed to be done this autumn, my reading really slowed down. Now, I am addicted to texts, so it's not as if I stopped reading altogether - but I chose easier fare than books (not counting the school stuff). Thus it took me months to finish Der Schrecksenmeister by Walter Moers, which is a record for me if one only counts books I liked.

Because I did like this one, a great deal even. While not quite as perfect a blend of nonsense, thrilling moments and overwhelming book-nerdishness as his Die Stadt der Träumenden Bucher, it was still very funny and engaging.

The plot is rather simple; Echo, a talking magical cat-like animal (a Kratze, or Crat in the English translation) is on the verge of starving to death when his mistress dies. The Schrecksenmeister (Alchemaster) sees him and realizes that Echo is just the ingredient he needs to fulfill his life work. Thus, they make a deal: For one month, Echo will be given the best of foods one can imagine and when the time is up, he'll end up in the alchemical soup, after a fast, painless death. Of course it isn't as simple as that, but the plot on the whole follows this line.
What makes Moers so fascinating (and DIFFICULT for a German-third-language speakers such as myself) is the way he plays with words. Put it like this: I almost think he could teach Pratchett a trick or two...

Take the title; Schrecksenmeister. The Master of the Schrecksen - and what is that? Well... it's a fantastical being that only exists in Moers fantasy-world Zamonien. They're are part witches, part horrible dragon-thingies and culturally very much like the jews of Medieval towns - blamed for all kinds of ills, forced to follow special laws and generally treated quite badly, though the populace still buys their services.

The Master of the Schrecksen then, is the man that keeps them "in line" and Eißpin, the Schrecksenmeister of this tale, is one of the most horrible creations of fiction I've seen- An utterly ruthless genius alchemist who does not stand above cheating, lies, torture and murder to get what he wants. Manages to be both so evil and impressive that you don't know whether to hate and despise or hate and admire by the end of the book.

This is not a book for those who want straight to-the-point prose; Moers obviously loves his Zamonian details, wordplays and flights of fancy. It is, however, enjoyable to follow along with all the little side-roads in this story, because his sense of style is perfect and he evokes plenty of images with a few well-chosen words. Like the name of the town where it all takes place: Sledwaya, the unwholesomest city of Zamonia. To me, the description and the name of the story immediately woke images of the polluted cities of Eastern Europe, and as the story unfolds and we learn of Eißpin's cruel reign over the citizens, the image only felt more true.

To be honest, though I haven't read it, I am highly mistrustful of the English translation.

Translation thoughts )

But hey - in whatever language you can get your hands on this book, do give it a try. It's not every book that keeps my interest (and memory of the plot so fresh!) that I keep reading it, nibble by nibble, for several months. It's also got lots of wonderfully creepy illustrations, wicked humor and some rather fantastical culinary images.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Life: It continues to be busy!

The story of SaiunkokuBut I at least had the time to read The Story of Saiunkoku on the train home. It's a manga I have looked forward to read properly ever since someone posted a few pages to scans_daily years ago.

The art style is polished fantasy shoujo, similar in design to the (good) works of Yuu Watase and You Higuri. It's pretty similar to Watase's Fushigi Yuugi in other ways too, starting with the obvious Chinese influence. Stir in plenty of court intrigue and possibly prophecies or something from the mysterious past and a go-get-'em female lead, and the surface starts to look very similar.
But! There are many differences too, because Saiunkoku takes place entirely in one world. There's been no magic in the first volume and, so far, only one of the pretty men in the manga has become obviously infatuated with the main character. Who is also btw admired because she's smart and driven, yay.

I like shoujo manga, especially the historical and fantasy kind (high school romances tend to bore me) but I will freely admit that there is a problem with the female main characters. In short, they tend to do little but have to be rescued after a while. Sometimes for really stupid reasons too.

It's way too early to say how Saiunkoku will develop in that fashion, but at least Shurei isn't supposed to run around and fight people (so she shouldn't be able to fail at it). Instead, she's supposed to teach the reluctant young emperor how to actually be an emperor - a task she has accepted because it means she gets The Moniez, and this is very important to Shurei.

Shurei, the main character, reminds me a great deal of Tohru from Fruits Basket, except she's way sharper when it comes to handling her money. They do seem to share the same kindness, however, and they're both very likeable; both for characters in the story and reader (well, me at least).
This is great, because far too often (in all kinds of genres), one finds a person everyone loves, from good old Mary Sue over to generic harem-manga leading man, for no reason whatsoever.

Here, we're presented with a noble but impoverished young girl, who is both book-smart and knows the pains of the world. She's still got a positive outlook on life, but it's not all roses and cheer - and yes, I like her. Maybe she's a bit too good, but heck, she's the HEROINE, she's allowed to. And the author still makes me think that if I met her in real life, she's someone I could easily come to like.

There appears to be much more intrigue, palace schemes and whatnot brewing in this manga than in your typical shoujo story. I hope it keeps up and develops those threads even further, because there's the potential of a really, really good story here.

So far, I like it a lot ^_^ Since I also bought the very last volume of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, this series came at just the right moment. Might even give the anime a try if the manga keeps my interest...

By the way, Saiunkoku is another anime where it's fun to play "Spot the voice actor!"
Seiyuu-geek out )
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
(With unfailing precision, the internet died when I just hit "post" for this entry yesterday... so you get it now instead. Recycling = win, y/n?)

I don't have time to write proper reviews and whatnot right now, but I have the feeling that if I start putting my "book logg" off, it'll wither and die before February has passed. And at least two months I should manage, darn it.

So, on to the preview copies!

First off is Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files, Changes. Oh, this one was a very intense page turner. I felt that the last book was too much plodding around and too little happening, until the very end when there was a huge mess of shit happening which could influence the overall outcome of the series - but by then, the book was mostly done so very little reflexion on those events could take place.

It's somewhat similar here, although the action is better paced and the foreshadowing works. The threads from older books, from the very beginning of the series up to much more recent events, are nicely (if somewhat predictably) picked up again. Oh, and this book does definitely change things around in Harry's world, on a both personal and more general level.

Good stuff. Less good is that Butcher now intends to carry the series into the "lower twenties" apparantly, because I want to get to the end some time :/ preferably before I'm tired of reading about Harry Dresden, thanks.

Then I read something-Sniegoski's Where Angels Fear to Thread, the next part in the Remy Chandler series. It's urban fantasy/mystery with an angel living on Earth as the main character. And that's probably where it fails the worst, because the fact that he's an angel doesn't matter one fucking bit for the plot. Remy/Remiel's Seraphim self is violent, threatens to "burn his humanity away" if he lets go of it and... is violent. That's it, basically. Oh, and Remy mopes about this a bit.

I tried to imagine what would have changed if Remy was a demon who'd somehow left hell and decided to be good, with a violent, destructive demonic side he supressed... Not a thing would be different as far as the in-book action. How people react to him, sure, somewhat but when he might as well have come from another planet or be his complete opposite without it messing up the plot. Nah, not good.

Otherwise the books are bland; a step up from most urban fantasy, which is horrible. That's why I keep reading them, so I can feel that I have some insight into the genre without having to suffer through the worst drivel...

Anyway, the books are bland, but not too shabbily written. There's a lot of old Bible characters running around, although, once again they don't feel very Biblical. I don't mean the story has to be preachy - for instance, in Angel Sanctuary, the characterization and plot are both very much driven by what the characters are, without it in any way being a respectful treatment of Christianity. I like that - I like Marianne Fredriksson's books, also, "Paradisets Barn" and whatnot, where there is also a feeling that, yes, these people don't just share names with someone from the Bible they are that person. They have met God, angels, demons etc, great otherwordly forces and that has in one way or another affected them.

I have also read Black Butler which is awesome. Yayness.

Of the books on my current reading list are:
- Uncle Dynamite by P.G. Wodehouse, something I borrowed from grandma
- Dwarves, a German fantasy book (though I read it in English, free copy from work) about... well, guess. Am almost finished, decent so far
- At the Mountains of Madness collection by Lovecraft. Have read the title story and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward so far, and yes, the old man knew how to craft his horror...
- Some African fantasy, a preview book I picked up because African fantasy is rare.
- Some shitty vampire romance book by J.R. Ward which I'm reading because it's part of a topic on the symposium. It is AWFUL!.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Rumiko Takahashi seems to be a bit of a workaholic. She barely finished Inu-Yasha before starting a new long-running shonen series. This one, Rin-ne is near simultaneously published in the US and Japan. Always good.

More bout Rin-ne - cut for lenght, not spoilers )

Yeees.

I squee senselessly about Pluto:Urasawa x Tezuka. No spoilers )

Last but not least, I bought the ♪ Hetalia One Coin ♪ figures today. They are utterly adorable. Here's someone's review of them - since I can't take pictures, look there.

*reads the review*

Wait, WHAT? You can swap the heads? Ohohohoho...

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