Category Archives: Thoughts

Better Late Than Never: Sailor Moon Crystal Launch

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal was not what I was expecting. There was no way I could even imagine what had happened.

Growing up there were two anime that I watched: Cardcaptor Sakura (or as I knew it Cardcaptors) and Sailor Moon. I can remember my brother and I watching Saturday marathons of Sailor Moon. We would tape everything on the VCR just so we didn’t miss an episode. While I can’t say that Sailor Moon is my favorite anime or even that I have diligently watched the whole series it does holds a special place in my heart as one of my first anime loves before I even knew what anime was.

When I found out that they were going to remake Sailor Moon I was ecstatic! It just goes to show how popular and iconic Sailor Moon is. I mean you can’t talk about magic girl anime without talking about Sailor Moon. I told some friends and I decided to hold a launch party because it’s fun to fanboy/girl but it’s even more fun to fanboy/girl with other like minded fanboys/girls.

The night came and unfortunately the party kinda fell apart with only my friend Angel (a sweet mix between a vintage pinup girl and the cutest chibi anime character ever) being able to make it. Whatever, it was full steam ahead! We played some Mortal Kombat vs. DC and then some Borderlands 2. After all the games we decided to prime our brains by watching the first episode of the 1992 original series. Unfortunately, the only one I could find was English dubbed but since that’s the only one I have ever seen it was fine. It really surprised me how full of exposition the first episode is. The pacing was so quick that there was hardly any nuance to the episode. But it’s a classic and it put us in the right mind frame for the main event: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal – Episode 1: Usagi – Sailor Moon.

The episode opens with a beautiful pan of space, the Sailor Scout’s colours represented by twinkling star clusters. After that: The opening credits.

As soon as it started with that awesome picture I knew that this was going to be epic. Angel and I both gasped and clapped our hands in glee. The representation of the Sailor Scout powers was more raw and natural. Instead of bubbles, Sailor Mercury controlled a raging torrent of water. Mars blazed in an inferno and Jupiter lit up the sky harnessing the power of a  blackout storm like Thor in a mini skirt. I can only hope that they keep this representation of the Scout’s powers. It would defiantly make for more intriguing and dynamic battles. Later in the episode we see some of Sailor Moon’s abilities. Her Moon Tiara Boomerang (or Moon Tiara Magic for us unfortunate souls) is definitely an upgrade from the previous series forming into a (seemingly) razor-sharp chakram before glowing with power. Something I found a little weird were the jewels in her hair buns pulsating and transmitting her friend, Naru’s, cries for help. When she arrives and tries to help but as the battle turns against her, her scared crying activates her buns again causing ultrasonic waves to radiate out, disabling her enemies. Both of these abilities seem strange, and a little hokey to me, but if they are used again in later episodes I will gladly accept then as a deliberate addition to her powers rather than a random situational occurrence.

The animation style is fantastic. Angel is a huge fan and has read most of the manga. What she liked so much about the remake is that they were very respectful to the style of the manga. Characters are skinnier with longer limbs and very large eyes. I couldn’t say for certain as I haven’t read they manga but I did appreciate the time and care they put into making Sailor Moon Crystal something special. Watching the original series first really solidified this for me. Anime has such a quick turn around, opposed to the manga, that anime tends to be rushed out and  the quality of the work seems to suffer for it. Now-a-days either people are spending more time animating the shows or we have the technology that allows for better visual quality and faster turn around. Either or, Crystal is a vast improvement over its 1992 predecessor. Sailor Moon Crystal has this timeless feel to it. With the choices they made, the series could be taking place in the 90s or today. Which allows it to stand the test of time a lot better.

I have to talk about the voice acting. Generally when I watch an anime I have to either watch it dubbed or subbed. I cannot mix the two. And there are instances where I believe one cast is better than its overseas counter part. Comparing it to the English cast of the original series, the Japanese cast for Sailor Moon Crystal is spot on. Luna sounds knowledgeable and caring, a friend as opposed to an exasperated mother figure. Usagi has her trademark complaining but it’s cute and funny rather than grating. One of my favorites though is Naru. There really can’t be a comparison between the two. In Crystal she sounds like a down to earth teenager. In the English original she sports a New York accent. Now after some research (i.e. looking it up on Wikipedia) Naru speaks in Kansei dialect which is characterized as a more melodic and harsher dialect. Which makes the New York accent make a touch more sense but I put it to you: Why would Molly (Naru) speak in a New York accent and her mother doesn’t? Do I hear you say “she doesn’t because that wasn’t her mother. That was Morga. Her mother was tied up in the basement.” Ah, but counter point. If Morga was impersonating Susan (Mayumi) wouldn’t she impersonate her dialect as well? And since Molly didn’t react to the way her mother was talking we can assume that Morga was speaking the way Susan would normally speak – sans New York accent. It just seems that when they over-Americanized the characters it took away from the show. That’s my opinion anyway. After that long and convoluted point I just want to get across that I think the Japanese voice acting was amazing. The only voice from the English original that I preferred was the Usagi’s mother.  In the English she had a very stern but caring, tough love kind of attitude. A mother who knows when to kick you in the ass to motivate you but will bring you cookies and tea when you have a particularly bad day. The mother in Sailor Moon Crystal just seemed to submissive to me.

All in all a fantasic start to the series! Great pacing, wonderful intrigue and powerful visuals (Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask is super dreamy). It was more than I could have ever hoped for and blew my expectations right out of the water! It definitely hooked me and I can’t wait to watch the next episode with Angel (and hopefully some of my other friends). It was so good that I forgot about the Moon Prism Pie I made for the party. Angel and I had to eat it afterwards… as we watched it again.

MOON PRISM POWER MAKE UP!

If you haven’t seen the first episode yet you can stream it over on Crunchyroll. You can find my less organized though over on Twitter @GeoffreyHeaney 

My friend Angel keeps it real on Twitter @EnatOnline and she also live-streams her (sometimes drunken) escapades into video games over on her Twitch channel.

Feature Image and Screen Caption by TOEI Animation

“Is it wrong to eat 6 five-day-old pies all by myself?”

Just over a week I was able to participate in the 6th annual In the Soil Arts Festival. I hade co-written, directed and acted in a piece called “a-PIE-calypso NOW!!!”. If you’re a friend of mine you are probably annoyed to death of that punny title as prior to the festival I had plastered Facebook with shameless self promotion. The show went of splendidly and I am so proud of what I accomplished as well as what my cast accomplished. I wanted to take this time to reflect on what the festival was like for me.

I have been in this festival before and this is not the first time I have worn many hats in a performance. I had written, directed and designed an entre show before but I had never really had a budget in mind. For this performance I think the biggest difference is that I had a budget (miniscule- I’m talking hundreds of dollars) but at the same time I wanted to pay my actors as much as possible. I have an appreciation for poor theatre now and let’s face it: I am poor theatre. If I want to put up anything I won’t have any money to do it. But after everything was said and done, I didn’t go into debt, all my actors got paid and I even received a little bit (for my acting role).

The arts community that has been created in Niagara is one that is so welcoming and open to new, different or unorthodox methods to creating and performance. I have this head space where I’m still in university. I’m a student and an amateur. I’m not a professional artist or actor. I’m still a little kid looking up at all the “real” artists and gawking awkwardly with my mouth hanging open. But that’s just my head space. I have to have confidence in myself when I say “I am an artist.”

 

Because I am one. If you create, you are an artist and if you get paid to do so, then you are a professional artist.  That is what is the biggest thing I took away from In the Soil 2014.

 

That and 6 blueberry pies.

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We are but beasts

This mossy stone calls for me to sit. It sparks the writer in me. I have wanted to come and write here for years now but I have never made the time. All seasons I have walked these “not-trails”. The river, creek, stream carving its way through this canyon. The made world far above, drowned out by the rustle of dead leaves, bird song (quick, staccato and far between) and of course the ever embracing melody of the water spirit. He flows strong from the snow melts, weeks past but still evident.

I don’t feel like a human here. A Tolkien elf walks this forest. I see the steps and footholds the trees give me. Their bark rough but strong to prevent my fall. They scratch me to wake me up, to pay attention. The trees bounce in the wind.

I just watch from my mossy stone, the only green in the forest apart from the faded emerald of the dammed river. The presence of others fills me with agitation but only a flash. It subsides when I am once again enveloped by the forest. There is no need to speak. The forest speaks. For you the river sings. It flutters my heart but calms my soul. I am not tired. I am full of movement. I wish I could sing with the river. I want to sing a song but none seem right. I’ve tried to sing the river song but it is not one for me. The melody is beyond me but a harmony in baritone seems to compliment. I thought the stream frantic in song but I know it is slow, constant and deep. For now I’ll continue to listen. I’ll learn.

We are but beasts. For how can one be here and not feel completely at home.

I write with reluctance now for I wish only to feel the moss and rock beneath my hands. Writing feels so foreign. My bare feet on this rock; I feel connected. Grounded. It’s cool to the touch but my soles tingle with… power seems to aggressive a word. Energy doesn’t fit either. It doesn’t need to be described. My heart is warm and my lungs are full. Warmth, black moist soil and a hint of woodland decay. This must be spring.

The moss is warm and dry but flourished upon the rock. The deeper pools etched in the stone hold clearings of rich earth. A tiny flower sprouts. It pushed up on a stone that leans upon it. Between two rocks and still the flower blooms welcoming the sun and spring with its tiny offering. It has brought me to this spot.

Always bloom.

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party popper

There’s a pressure beneath my sternum. Like, “the weight on your shoulders” migrated and decided to get more explosive.

not explosive

Burst, push… no, small explosive. Like a party popper. you know you pull the cord and streamers and confetti fly out. That’s what it feels like under my sternum.

And when it explodes my ribcage will rip and curl back like the paper in a fire. It will just flay open. Not in a morbid way.

In a party popper way.

Innocent but fun. But the thing bursting out is not super innocent. But it is accepted. this is what happens but not right here. Under the sternum.

the only thing holding back the party popping is that shit needs to get done. I need to get the shit done.

 

I just don’t know if it’ll be a party if this party popper pops.

 

 

image by Mike Seyfang

You, glaring at me holding a rusty lead pipe.

Motivation is a fickle mistress. She shall come forth from the ether and shower you with ideas and grand dreams and when all is said and done she shall recede back to whence she came coyly poking her head out every once in a while to still see if you’re looking for her. Only, when you do make eye contact she always has to wash her hair. This is especially true for procrastinators and during winter storms. There is something about deep cold prolonged weather that makes your body shut down and do fuck all. Last time I checked humans are non-hibernating mammals. Why is it whenever a storm comes along my first thought it to wrap myself in a cocoon (for the etymologists) or den (for my mammalogists homies) of blankets and do nothing? Today I slept until noon. I was up for about an hour and a half watching TV when I went back to bed and slept for another 4 hours. I had plans to write today. Yesterday I convinced myself that I would do some creative writing and get it all done. Maybe start on some research on some other articles I want to write. And the product of today? This.

I guess it can be said that while I have set a goal of using writing prompts to share some of my creative writing with you every week I don’t have to if I don’t want to. Like an obese child with a cupcake I DON’T HAVE TO SHARE AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! That being said, the whole point of the exercise was for me. You are here to judge me and call me out on when I don’t release a weekly blog post. You are the executioner your hood black as night and your fingers gently caressing the handle which will drop the blade waiting to sever the limbs which are my internet dignity (I think that analogy’s a bit tortured). Anyway, I write for you but I largely write for me which is why I think I’m funnier than mad house and equally unqualified to entertain you and grateful that you are choosing to spend your time and mental power reading and processing the giblet sandwich that is my writing.

What I am saying is that you are my motivation after all is said and done. While Motivation might coo from around the corner and flee down an alley when I get close, you, my dear reader, are standing out in the open. Glaring at me holding a rusty lead pipe. You know what it means. I know what it means. And I’m sorryI’llgetbacktoworkrightawaysir.

I am a groundhog.

Jack Pearce/Flickr

A bold statement but bear with me.

When I pop my head out of my den I do a lot of work (this analogy works if you also believe prophetic weather powers is great and strenuous work. I think it is. I mean what other animal can foretell the range of the season. And not even that, it’s that it happens every year. I mean he’s never right yet he tries every year. And people, some a touch misguided [fortune tellers are one thing but groundhog fortune tellers. HAHAHA with a little crystal ball!!! …fantastic.] pay attention to them every year! That pretty astounding for a dirt rat.) but after that I still go back down and sleep for 6 weeks. What I am horrendously trying to convey here is that I am working on wanting to motivate myself more. Writing is fun for me and I want to Pavlov’s dog this bitch (pun totally intended)! Positive feeling towards writing will create a powerful want to do so. That being said I’m going back to marathoning Bones.

Cheers

UPDATE: A friend sent me this to give me a “friendly kick in the ass” which I always appriciate. Especially from her.

Charles Bukowski on the Ideal Conditions and Myths of Creativity, Illustrated by Maria Popova

The poem – “air and light and time and space” by Charles Bukowski – is wonderfully moving and here it is in comic form by Zen Pencils

via Zen Pencils

via Zen Pencils

Groundhog image via Jack Pearce / Flickr

 

I wanna be the very best!

Hello. What’s up?

I’m clearly bad at introductions and… starting things.

I think this has happened before...

I think this has happened before…

I’m Geoffrey. I’m here to blog. What, you ask? I guess what I feel like. Maybe some reviews, my musing, probably just the crap that comes out of my head. Also, Caterpie. I’m going to be writing about him. He’s my roommate and a videogame addict. He’s also sassy as shit, which can be both endearing and annoying.

Caterpie is my inspiration. When I first started to become acquainted to Pokémon I was suckered in like most kids my age. While most loved Pikachu or, like my brother, Charmander/Charizard I fell entranced with the tiny worm Pokémon. When Ash catches Caterpie in (the aptly named) “Episode 3: Ash Catches a Pokémon” it began something for me. They focused the anime on this cute little bug bestowing importance upon him, if only for a few episodes. That importance never left me. Because Caterpie was never about power but potential. Caterpie is strong in his own right. Hell, he beat a Koffing and an Ekans with just String Shot and Tackle. As I said though what he lacks in moves he makes up for in spirit. He gazes up at the moon and tells Pikachu of his dream to be a Butterfree. It’s this strive to be who you are truly meant to be that stuck with me. As Brock so eloquently put it:

“A Caterpie may change into a Butterfree, but the heart that beats inside it remains the same.” 

Find your true self and when you do you will be what you always dreamed you could be. Caterpie to me is about self discovery and I can think of no better traveling companion. I guess that’s partially why I want to blog and I hope you’ll join me on my journey.