Friday, January 25, 2013

Ciel Phantomhive vs. Artemis Fowl


Don't laugh. XD

The similarities between the two characters are so distinct and obvious that comparison is inevitable for anyone who's read/watched both series. I seriously thought when I first noticed Black Butler(more popularly referred to as Kuroshitsuji) that it was literally an anime adaption of Artemis Fowl.  Other people have read Artemis Fowl and thought "CIEL HAS A CLONE??!?"

So I thought I'd outline some of the differences and analyze who would win. XD

Similarities:

Appearance: 
This is the first similarity, and one of the most major, because if they didn't look so darn alike I don't think the comparison would have been as striking. The above picture of Artemis is a fanart, because there aren't really any good pictures of Artemis, and the manga style makes it more obvious. They are both from the British Isles and have black hair and blue eyes. Both of them lose/change/switch an eye resulting in two different colors. 

Circumstance:
They both start their respective stories at the same age(12). They both have parents who aren't present in their lives. (Ciel's are dead, Artemis's are kidnapped or on trips all the time). They both own their own businesses. Ciel's Funtom Company makes toys and restaurants and candy, and Artemis's makes electronics and technological wonder things .

They are both in charge of their households and businesses and constantly face being looked down upon by adults(and quickly setting those adults straight XD)

Also, they come from very wealthy families and own big shmancy mansions.

Butlers:
They both have butlers that they rely on for literally EVERYTHING. Ciel more than Artemis though.(more on this later) Both Butler and Sebastian are extremely talented fighters and cooks, and very devoted to their individual masters(although for entirely different reasons). Artemis and Butler are much more like friends(he calls Artemis by his first name) and


Talents/Activities:
Artemis Fowl is a genius who describes himself as having twice the intellect of Mozart(but only 3/4ths the intellect of Da Vinci) and the highest IQ in Europe. Ciel doesn't claim quite as much, but he is extremely clever, accomplished, and smart enough to solve complicated murder mysteries and balance the drama and intrigue of London's elite. They both deal with the mafia and criminal underworld on a regular basis.

They are both very talented chess players. (If they were playing against each other I would bet on Artemis, although Ciel has never lost a game of any sort.)

They both play musical instruments: Artemis plays the piano and cello and Ciel plays the violin.

They both hang out with demons, fight zombies and evildoers, and get near-dead and revived on a pretty regular basis.

Personality: 
 Both Artemis and Ciel are arrogant, confident, independent, and lonely. They both appear to be selfish but can be shown to have more compassionate sides. They are both ruthless, enterprising, calculating, cold, and appear to be driven entirely by greed.  Here's where the similarities stop, however.

Artemis's confidence stems out of his own high self-esteem, hope, and trust in his intellect. He believes in securing a bright, sunshiny future for himself. He has hope in himself and in his brain and talents to get himself at the top of any situation.

Ciel, however, is completely devoid of hope. His confidence comes from his deal with Sebastian and his belief that he is sunk so low things really cannot get any worse for him. He places a low value on his own soul and life as evidenced by the contract, using himself as bait and willingly letting the queen use him for her dirty work. He believes that he is truly worthless, desperate, dirty, and defiled, and just playing a game with his time until he can achieve revenge. 

Ciel also is more mature because of all the tragedy and horror he had in his childhood. He is much more patient and willing to offer wise advice to people. He operates on a deeper, darker plane than Artemis(who turns practically 100% "good") by the end of his series. He's "fallen" lower.

More differences:
Ciel relies on Sebastian much, much, much more than Artemis relies on Butler. For the sake of the storyline, Eoin Colfer places Artemis in a separate situation from Butler on a regular basis, and he does just fine. Ciel, on the other hand, relies on Sebastian to dress him, give him baths, tie his eye patch, put on his shoes, and comb his hair. Every freaking morning.

Nevertheless, Ciel is more physically fit and combat-ready than Artemis and is armed at all times(he sleeps with his gun under his pillow.) He has a royal title which binds him to be loyal to the name of the queen and his family.

Artemis is more focused on science and technology(obviously, because of the setting of the two stories). He has more friends. He is also less likely to be loyal and form alliances than Ciel is, and he would never work for the queen or form a contract with Sebastian.



Besides, Ciel never:
“sold” the pyramids to a businessman in Cairo.
 once thought that the only thing he needed to be a cartoon villain was an eye patch.(CHECK)
cut off a finger from two different people. Only once accidentally.
has been decomposed into his subatomic particles.
has been attacked by murderer crickets.
messed with the time continuum because of a monkey lemur.
once had a little misunderstanding with a gorilla.
once had a little misunderstanding with a giant squid.
once had a little misunderstanding with an entire civilization of magical creatures
.worried about his mother buying him jeans when being stranded in the middle of the sea.
WAS THE NUT.
wears Armani underpants. And owns at least one red pair.
screams things like “Sell the Phonetix shares!” when recovering consciousness.
was dumped during the ceremony of the Nobel Prizes.
has lost, gained, switched and shared more than one part of his body.

And Artemis never:
joined the circus
got engaged
traveled the world with a demon butler
had an epic fight on the top of the eiffel tower
made fifteen-minute chess metaphors
 pointed a gun at somebody and pulled the trigger

 So, the real question is, who would win?
 I think it's inevitable that they start out as rivals, at least for a short time. They're both very similar and have a knack for ticking other people off. I don't think they could tolerate each other. XD So they'd definitely fight.

Most Ciel vs. Artemis posts I've seen are really Sebastian vs. Butler because they would invariably end up doing most of the fighting. If it came to that, I would really have to regretfully give the fight to Sebastian, because....invincibility is pretty hard to beat.

They key words are "if it came to that". Artemis, after duly observing and researching Ciel/Sebastian in action, would not go up against them directly to avoid the outcome of Butler having to face Sebastian on his own. They would definitely get some supernatural allies, maybe Grell and the Shinigami Haken Kyoukai.

Who knows, with his technology, maybe Artemis and Butler could hold up pretty well on their own. They did fend off an entire fairy army armed with time stopping machines and weapons of mass destruction. No doubt they would find some ancient way to break Sebastian off from Ciel and the pwn them each individually.

What about just Artemis and Ciel? In a battle of brawn, Ciel would definitely win since Artemis doesn't really like violence. In a battle of wits, definitely Artemis.

In general? Artemis.  I just keep thinking back to the couple of episodes when Ciel didn't have Sebastian and ended up getting like ripped off, hungry and alone, his mansion caught on fire, and he was shot five times and the stomach and lay on the floor dying before Sebastian came and saved him. Artemis, on the other hand, broke into Spiro's Needle, escaped a bunch of hungry trolls, foiled Opal Koboi a bunch of times, and fought off a demon tribe without Butler..

You know what would be equally terrifying and epic? If Sebastian were contracted to Artemis. Now there's a scary thought. Look out, galaxy.

I'll leave you with this funny comic from Saracrista.

 http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs39/i/2008/328/7/f/Artemis_VS_Ciel_by_Sarakrista.jpg



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Anime morals/content

I thought I'd do this post for those who are interested in anime or into anime but aren't sure of its place in a Christian lifestyle, or who are striving to keep their minds/hearts pure.(ONWARD!) Before I started watching anime, I had my doubts just because of stereotypes and what my friends said.

Anime is actually a medium, not a genre in itself. Saying something to characterize all anime is like saying something to characterize all American movies. There are good ones, bad ones, violent ones, romantic ones, etc. But  Japanese media in general seems to me to be more tolerant of things like crossdressing(every single anime I have watched includes at least one crossdresser or crossdressing episode, I guess it's just a thing?), nudity/skimpy outfits, etc. Maybe I've just been watching too high a rating. XD

As for morals, most of the anime I've watched seem to be very, if not bankrupt, lighthearted and generic. Like cotton candy, not harmful, but not full of much thematic substance. Of course, the shojos like Fruits Basket and Ouran High School Host Club have a lot of lighthearted inspiring moments, but most anime "lessons" I've seen seem to be taken from Basic Humanity 101, such as "Don't bully others!", "Be nice to people", "People that seem mean on the outside are actually really hurting and heartbroken", etc.

I'm generalizing, some anime are more poignant than others. I'll do a short overview of the themes of the anime I've watched, along with some more specifics regarding content, and even recommended episodes to skip XD.

Fruits Basket(shojo, PG)-Sort of like a soap with an orphan and a wealthy Japanese family cursed to transform into zodiac animals when hugged. The anime is pretty fluffy and sugary..most people find it to be pretty sweet, poignant, and a time of returning to simple basic humanity and goodness(although the cheesiness was pretty piled on in some episodes, methinks). The manga is an entirely different deal--much, much more meaningful and deep than the anime(which started out the same but ended as it was getting to the deep stuff) about abuse, moving on, courage, compassion, etc. I actually found a lot inspiration in the heroine's optimism, eternal patience, and the way she finds happiness and fufillment in the controversial stereotypical "women's role", aka. cooking/cleaning/laundry. Also wins the "funniest" award.

Warnings include language, with words of minor to medium offensiveness occuring at a surprisingly high rate. Very slight yaoi(mostly as a joke). I hesitate to name any specific episodes, because the very worst of this series is typically better than the average of most of the other ones I"m going to name. They do have some awkward content in the original japanese translation(mostly in the episodes with Ayame) but the english dub does a very good job with using generality and euphemisms so the innuendos will probably fly over most people's heads. XD

 Hetalia(Humor, MA, continuing) - Characterizes world history with personified characters. Sample episode summary: "Russia decides to jump out of a plane without a parachute, and England and France comment on how he broke all his bones. Then, the audience is introduced to the Baltics, although Latvia has a tendency to say the wrong thing at times. After that, America injures himself when England offers him some ice cream. "This I would skip if you're watching with other children/grownups/basically anyone other than yourself. XD It caters to a very..specific brand of humor, which I only understand about 50% of the time. As for morals, er... makes fun of stereotypes while perpetuating them? I don't know why I even watch this. As for pluses, the episodes are VERY short(5 minutes), the music is addicting, and it's funny. Also, you might learn something, but I wouldn't count on it. XD Problems are basically a lot of language(F words are censored I think) and jokes that are worse than my comfort level but not extremely bad.(Basically, as bad as your local high school, not as bad as your local comedy/reality TV channel). The episodes hover at about the same level, with specific dips in WS #38 and#39.

Ouran High School Host Club(Shojo, TV-14)-"Normal" girl at fancy private elite school, one of the most beloved anime from what I've seen. I think it's pretty good, with basic examples of how levelheadedness and common sense can prevail over rich ridiculous idiots. XD Also very funny. There is at least a little yaoi/questionable content in every episode, mostly for humor purposes. I would skip #7, #8, #9, and #19 although the other episodes aren't that much tamer, and I would preview each episode before watching with someone else. XD


Black Butler I/II(black comedy/gothic supernatural/dark fantasy, etc., ranges from TV-14 to MA)-Although very nearly my favorite one, this one churns out questionable content on a pretty regular basis. The episodes are on a complex stage with a lot of humor and lightheartedness contrasted with darkness and spiritual barrenness. Cannot decide if it should be characterized as a dark comedy or comedic tragedy. TMC, 13 year old business savvy earl Ciel is incredibly amazing, noble, and conscientious despite being despairing, lonely, and struck by tragedy. his goes deeper than the others I've seen, with complex questioning about the value of life, the value of one's soul, and revenge. Showcases humanity's desperation to survive at all costs, grasping at any spider's thread of life when life has been devastated and hope is anything but nonexistent. The manga is much better and I recommend it to anybody. The vast majority of the anime often features spiritual and supernatural content that is too troublesome to be worth it, along with disturbing imagery and violent content. Certain first season episodes I  recommend are the #1(first half only), #2-6, #9, #13-15, #19-24(with a warning, skip the last scene with Queen Victoria in her castle, I did) and the OVA. These will give you a GREAT overview into this series' total awesomeness while skipping most of the nasty stuff.

I haven't watched most of the second season but I KNOW it will be much worse in terms of questionable content than the first one. Episode 1 is good, but when Alois starts to eat his breakfast, please please skip ahead about a minute XD. Episode 2 looks good but I haven't started it yet.

Death Note(Thriller/suspense/shonen, TV-14)-One of the most popular anime series of all time, and with good reason. Very good if you're not into all the complicated anime culture and just want a good plot with good suspense and characterization. Kind of a police/detective thriller featuring a brilliant teenager/serial killer and a equally brilliant(and EPIC) detective who has never lost a case. No really questionable content yet, though I'm not far along.  Highly recommended.

Hopefully this helps! If you want to try an anime(DO), I would recommend starting several at once so at least one hooks you. :)




Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dancewear



Sorry I haven't posted much, but there really hasn't been anything much to post about. I'm hopefully taking my drivers permit test on Tuesday! I though this was a cool insight into the culture of my dance studio.

So what kinds of things do people wear to dance at my studio?

Jazz/Lyrical/PGs


Have you seen those cute outfits the kids on Dance Moms wear? Unfortunately, most kids at my studio don't wear things like that. XD The younger the kid are, the cuter their outfits are, but nobody over nine really wears two-pieces suits. Most of the older ones wear sports bras, with tank tops and mesh tops like the ones shown above.

Everybody wears spandex shorts, mostly black, but some of the younger kids have fancy ones that are sparkly and have leopard/zebra prints. XD 

Sometimes people wear sweatpants, but they usually have shorts on under them for later when it gets too hot.

The much older girls(read: my age) just wear shorts and t shirts.
http://www.childsdancewear.com/wp-content/uploads/childrens-recital-dancewear-698x1024.jpg

Ballet:
Halter Leotard with Satin Trim - Style No L6010


The required ballet uniform at my studio is black leotard(any style), pink tights, and pink ballet slippers. Very boring--a lot of other studios purposefully pick other colors besides black. But black is the most uniform, so whatevs. There are some really cute leotard styles! I really like the look of the long sleeve ones, but mostly its too hot around here.



Depending on your body type, finding a good leotard for your body type is harder than it looks. I have one camisole one and one halter.

Technically, you're only supposed to wear black bras with leotards. But people at my studio wear all colors.

Younger kids sometimes wear pink sweaters and skirts, but usually older kids don't.
http://image.discountdance.net/image/1395x1500/sl7765.jpg
Legwarmers are pretty popular, but only black ones, and usually with pointe shoes. I saw some of the kids wearing really long ones that went nearly all the way up to their waist. It looked really cool, which I'm tempted to try, except that I don't think the leg warmers would fit around my upper legs, and besides, wearing them like that is like a giant flashing arrow screaming "LOOK AT MY UPPER THIGHS" which: if you're a beautiful skinny little kid, is great, but no thanks. XD

Hair
http://secure.hostdeziners.com/www_theshoeroom_ca/store/images/product_images/13027.jpg
Now this is where my studio gets a little crazy.....

I hear of most studios allowing like hair flowers and hair nets. Most kids at my studio will wear a hairnet, a scrunchie around the bun, a headband, a hair bow, and a hair flower at the same time. XD There have been trends, too, like the time they were selling these really glittery bows at competition, and for the month after EVERYONE was wearing one, even the ones who didn't go either made their own or bought them.


I love most hair accessories, so I'm a bit of a sucker for this trend myself.

During Halloween, the studio runs a crazy hair competition, and people "dress up" by wearing tiaras or feathers or cobwebs in their hair, and it can get really crazy sometime. I'll never forget seeing one of the top kids in the studio, a little eight or nine year old(who is AMAZING at dance) wearing a GIANT tarantula in her bun. The body was as big as her bun and the legs extended to like six inches on either side of her head. and there were lots and lots of grey cobwebs.

Shoes
Shoes are pretty straightforward...most people wear tan shoes, not black. No socks except fuzzy ones on holidays.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! :) Talk to you later! 

 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Skiing

School starts tomorrow! With finals starting next week.

I feel so unprepared, Well, enough about that!

Today we got back from Mammoth Mountain skiing.

 I'm mostly an intermediate skiier. But at Mammoth, my dad made a mistake on the trail map and I blindly trusted him to dictate the next lift we would take, halfway up the mountain.

We got off the lift near the top of the mountain, and it was starting to get really windy. I skied along to the top of the trail, looking at the slopes and thinking that none of them seemed intermediate. I got to the trail markers and noticed that they were all black diamond slopes. Behind the trail markers, the ski slope dropped nearly straight down. Behind me, I heard my dad say "Oops."

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm kind of a scaredy-cat. Ask me what I'm most afraid of, and I'll say "Scary things!" So the wind was blowing flurries of snow everywhere, I'm surrounded by steep slopes and tall mountains and scenery, staring down what looks like a ninety-degree drop that disappears into a chute, with one side of the chute leading off a cliff and marked with an orange fence and a sign that says "WARNING: HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ON OTHER SIDE OF THIS FENCE".

I shivered and wailed and cursed in my head. My legs felt paralyzed. I was thinking thoughts like "I AM NEVER GOING SKIING AGAIN." But the only way to go was down, and slowly I inched my way down fearfully(while six year olds in pink jumpsuits cheerfully maneuvered their way down the face, whizzing past me.)

And that's the story of how I accidentally skied down a black diamond slope.

Another interesting thing is that I was looking for my DMV booklet at the condo because I'm taking my permit test soon. I was digging through my mom's luggage when I felt a draft coming from behind the shade(it was night). I moved the shade and heard a tinkle. When I looked behind the shade, I was looking at huge shards of split glass.

One of the windows was completely shattered, with the panes split all the way to the edges. It looked like a bit of icicle had somehow been rammed through a window., like from an icicle gun.

Some guys came later to patch it up, but it was scary.

I'll write more later! Hope you all had a good winter break!