Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Pisces Albafica should have been in the Saint Seiya canon

The first time I laid my eyes on Pisces Albafica

Appearances can deceive us indeed.

It was what happened to me when I first saw Pisces Albafica (魚座のアルバフィカ) in “Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas” anime on Netflix. Albafica’s first appearance (and soon to be the last as well…) in The Lost Canvas was when he battled spectres Griffon Minos, Niobe and the gang. Albafica appeared in the middle of a red rose garden, perching beautifully on a rock, his white cape billowing behind him.

The billowing cape made him look like a beautiful Batman sans the fear factor. In fact, Albafica was so beautiful that the spectres were just staring at him agog.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Musashi 2003 episodes 37-49 recap

The followings are my recap of Musashi 2003 Taiga drama episodes. Spoilers for those who haven’t watched the (very great and totally recommended) series.

Episode 37

Soon after Musashi arrived in Kumamoto the Hosokawa father and son (Tadaoki vs Tadatoshi) organised the challenge between Musashi and Kojiro; both of them accepted the challenge.

Yagyu Munenori ordered to kill whoever wins in the duel between Musashi and Kojiro. So, basically, although Musashi and Kojiro had wanted to test their skills for a long time, their duel might have been different had it not been for Edo political feud.

Musashi 2003 episodes 25-36 recap

Musashi and his beloved Otsu (Episode 28)

The followings are my recap of Musashi 2003 Taiga drama episodes. Spoilers for those who haven’t watched the (very great and totally recommended) series.

Episode 25

In which Musashi met Sannosuke (“Iori” in the novel) because he saw the boy (a young farmer boy) catching loaches. The samurai wanted some loaches for dinner but the boy didn’t give him some, despite Musashi was willing to give some money. Turned out, the loaches were for Sannosuke’s father, who died that same evening (so, I think the father died after Sannosuke caught the loaches – the boy didn't catch the loaches for his dead father). Musashi later stumbled into Sannosuke’s hut and was invited for dinner by the boy. At night, Musashi saw the boy sharpening a sword, hence he was alarmed. When asked why he was sharpening the sword at that ungodly hour, the boy asked back whether this sword would be sharp enough to cut a person in two. Surprised, Musashi asked who he wanted to cut; Sannosuke said “my dad”.

Musashi 2003 episodes 13-24 recap

Musashi, Osugi and Otsu (from Episode 2)

The followings are my recap of Musashi 2003 Taiga drama episodes. Spoilers for those who haven’t watched the (very great and totally recommended) series.

Episode 13

After realising that Takezo wouldn't go out of the room, Otsu and Matahachi finally left the temple. Matahachi was surprised to learn that his ma was nearby, so he dashed off. However, beforehand he told Otsu that she better forget Takezo, for the sword was the only thing in his mind. He had no interest in love at all. Then, as Matahachi walked off, his fearful mother climbed up the temple stairs, almost giving the fool son a heart attack. But even Osugi couldn't make Takezo come out of the temple shack. Thus, even Osugi had to give up. Otsu separated herself from Osugi and returned to the inn.

Musashi 2003 episodes 1-12 recap

The gorgeous Ichikawa Ebizō (formerly Shinnosuke) as Musashi

The followings are my recap of Musashi 2003 Taiga drama episodes. Spoilers for those who haven’t watched the (very great and totally recommended) series.

Episode 1

The episode started with a grim (but somewhat funny) exchange of questions between Shimen Takezo and Honiden Matahachi, each asking the other whether they were still alive, whether they still had legs and arms. Yes, Takezo and Mata-yan (Takezo’s pet name to Matahachi) fought for the West side and survived the Sekigahara. Later, they got a glimpse of Yagyu Munenori and Yagyu Hyōgonosuke as both samurai elegantly rode their horses across Sekigahara. Takezo and Matahachi met Akemi and Okoh (her mother). Matahachi bluffed that he Mata was a student of Itto Itosai (LOL! The way Takezo tilted his head in surprise at that bluff was too funny!). Takezo and Matahachi helped them fighting off some bandits.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

"The way to pick a flower" (a Musashi 2003 fanfic)

Musashi (Ichikawa Ebizō) and Otsu (Yonekura Ryoko),
my favourite Azuchi-Momoyama-Edo couple!

A recurring question amongst the readers of Musashi (the novel) and viewers of Musashi (the drama) is whether Musashi and Otsu ended up together officially and whether they eventually shared a life together. I’ve always liked this couple when I read Yoshikawa Eiji’s novel, yet upon seeing the 2003 Taiga Drama, I’m dead on in love with them and want them to be officially together. Since neither the book nor the drama stated as such, this is my attempt to bring that closure to myself. SPOILERS of Musashi 2003 Episodes 14 onwards; consider yourself forewarned…

Miyamoto Musashi had faced 80 students of the Yoshioka Kenpo, Agon and Inshun of Hozoin Nara, Taguchi Genryu and even Yagyū Sekishusai without blinking his eyes in fear. At the very least, he had managed to overcome his fears and emerged alive, for better for worse. Yet, for this situation at hand, he wasn’t sure how he’d proceed, let alone emerging unscathed.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Musashi 2003 Taiga Drama

Left: the classic cover of Yoshikawa Eiji's "Musashi"
Right: Ichikawa Shinnosuke's NHK Musashi

Happy New Year! May 2019 be kind, healthy and beautiful for us all…

When I was a teenager, I happened upon “Musashi”, a novel by Yoshikawa Eiji about a well-known Japanese historical figure called Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵). I read the seven volumes of the novel and I liked it. I do think it was a bit difficult for me to understand; not language-wise (it was in Indonesian), but because it spoke of Zen, something I didn’t get as a teenager.

Yet the story cling to my mind, such that in 2004, just before I had a surgery, I searched for the books again (I had misplaced my first copies).  Gramedia said the book was out of print, such that I eventually bought the copies (all the seven volumes) from my local book rental. The copies were dirty, but I treasured them so much. I read them again as I recuperated from my surgery. This time, the values in the novel was easier to understand. And this time, I appreciate the main characters more.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Lee Jong-hyun! (and the GongLee couple)

In which I lament my ambivalence towards My Only Love Song and celebrate my newfound love to Lee Jong-hyun and GongLee…

Song su-jeong/Nan-nyeon (Gong Seung-yeon) and On Dal (Lee Jong-hyun) in MOLS

So apparently I’m in love with Lee Jong-hyun now… and also with the GongLee couple. It started about two weeks ago when I watched ‘My Only Love Song’ (MOLS) at Netflix.

It wasn’t love at first sight, though. I stopped several times when watching MOLS because… Korean dramas aren’t my usual cup of tea. Of course being a normal girl, I love a good love story. However, being the first time watching a Korean drama (except for a movie about the Queen’s white hanbok dress – whatever the title is), I find myself baffled with the number of sweet saccharine lovey-dovey love scenes in MOLS. I’m also baffled with the amount of make up the male characters wore, which in many scenes were more prominent than that of the female characters. Only the dandiest of wuxia characters of recent years that I’ve watched (though admittedly I didn’t watch many Mainland wuxia dramas these days) wore half the amount of lipstick these male characters wore in MOLS.  I mean, of course the actors need to also wear a degree of make up for lighting etc., but – most likely because I’ve never watched a Korean drama before – I’ve never seen oriental male characters wore such thick foundation (and primer or BB etc.), lipstick and powder the way the characters in MOLS were.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

It’s crazy that “Crazy Rich Asians” receives good reviews

“Crazy Rich Asians” (CRA) does not deserve the good reviews. Heck, it's not worth the 90%++ Rotten Tomatoes score, cos it would put it in the same level with Wonder Woman and Black Panther for God sake! But this is a system that also puts down Batman vs Superman and Justice League, so I suppose objectivity in not in RT’s dictionary.

But CRA is also well-praised by other reviewers, which gives me a headache. HOW COME those reviewers not see how mis-representing this movie is?? How come, echoing the Guardian, they cannot see how only Chinese Asians are represented as rich Asians in the movie, and that the only “prominent” dark-skinned Asians were security guards at the Young’s place? And how come they are okay with such a display of wealth in the movie that makes me sick in my stomach? The money thrown away for a pair of earrings, bachelor and bachelorette parties etc.?

It’s sickening.
It’s not balanced at all.
It paints a skewed picture of Asians.
And yet this movie receives high review scores.
The world has really turned topsy.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

"Fragments of the Future" (Mirai no Hahen) Epilogue

While in Osaka, thanks to fellow Twitter Seorri and Joker, I bought Okada Masaki's photo book published in 2016. Titled "Fragments of the Future" (Mirai no Hahen), the AUD 45 photo book was rather dear, but definitely worths every penny. It's filled with so many photos of Masaki from 2010 to 2016, as well as interviews he did during those photo shoots.

With my limited Japanese, it will take me a long time to read the book. However, what I've read so far is very interesting. I was immediately taken by the Epilogue because it was short enough to read on its own, and because I want to see what Masaki wrote at the end of the book.

It was a very lovely Epilogue, hence I decided to translate it and post it here. It took me a few days to decipher the Kanji, but I'm getting better at that compared to about 12 months ago, hence I'm happy with my progress.

I hope you enjoy reading it as I do. I put the Kanji-kana, English and Romaji in this order below.