Feature the Character that Makes You Cry When /They/ Cry (30 Day Character Challenge, Day 25)

It’s this guy. It’s Tomoya.

I’ve written about the way that Ushio’s death makes me feel in a fair amount of detail, but Tomoya’s cries in her death scene just break my heart. His face, the horror, how strong he tried to be for her and how deeply he felt that loss…

And maybe it’s what his losses mean more so than his tears themselves, but I feel like Tomoya’s traveled such a hard road. He’s lost so much. When he cries, so do I.

His desperation is so incredibly profound, and yet things like his happen every single day. When he mourns Nagisa, his regrets are oceanic. And his feelings about wishing that he’d never entered her life are honest and realistic. He doesn’t know how to go on without her, doesn’t want this life, this unknown future without her…

And now that I’ve saddened you all for one day, I’ll take my leave. Maybe we all should go re-watch this moving, deeply poignant story.

~Shoujo

Feature the Best Character with the Best Laugh (30 Day Character Challenge, Day 24)

I Youtube-d “anime characters laughing.” Not gonna lie. Then I found this and remembered that I love it, so it all worked out.

Winner of the best laugh goes to Haru, both because it’s super adorable, but also because it is super out of character, and everybody knows it.

My sons.

That’s honestly all I have to say about that. Lol

~Shoujo ❤

Feature the Best Dancer (30 Day Character Challenge, Day 23)

Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Ha.

Ha.

Oh. Wow. Okay, here we are.

I am bound and determined to get this challenge—one which I started in OCTOBER 2017—finished before the end of this year. To do otherwise would simply be shameful. (Who am I kidding? It’s already pretty shameful.) However, this topic proves difficult if I am to pick a favorite. Instead, I’ll select someone who dances well, but perhaps is not one I’d call my favorite simply because there are so many to pick from. THE CHOICES ARE TOO MANY!

And even having said that, I’m going to pick a group instead of an individual.

Gotta go with the classic. It just makes me so happy.

In fact, Starish in general just makes me so happy. This post will attest.

So, tell me: who do you think is the best dancer in anime? Lemme know in the comments below!

Peace and geese!
~Shoujo

Why aren’t we talking about Mo Dao Zu Shi? (A take on 魔道祖师, or “Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”)

People aren’t talking nearly enough about Mo Dao Zu Shi (魔道祖师, AKA “Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”). I saw pretty art on Twitter and went hunting, only to find this GORGEOUS work that had me first reading 75 chapters of the manga before marathon watching a full season of donghua (Chinese animation) in one day. One day. Then I started on what I could find of season two.

So, what is it?

Watch me!

Just so beautiful I could cry.

Oh, and it’s boys love.

No, I’m kidding. Well, I mean, I’m not kidding, but let’s just get that out of the way right now. It’s BL. But is more than that alone.

From what I gather, it originates from a novel I’ve never read and spawned a whole bunch of additional media including audio dramas, manga, a two season donghua (both the latter aforementioned, of course), and even a live-action adaptation! The manga is admittedly a bit hard to understand when you’re first jumping in (especially because of all the “formal name/birth name” stuff), but if you hold out it begins to make more sense, and the donghua really clears things up on its end. The animation is also SO BEAUTIFUL that I am obsessed.

wei

OBSESSED.

It’s about this guy named Wei Ying who is kind of a troublemaker, but he’s got a very good heart. This kid lives in a time and place that attempts to cultivate Xain (spirituality, guys) and keep things at peace by balancing forces. To get more specific, there are these “cultivators” who strive to control spiritual power in moral ways to help people and keep them safe from demons, ghosts, spirits, and the like. Well, getting into very minor spoilers, stuff goes down, and this kid falls off the straight and narrow cultivation path for all the right reasons. GUY. BECOMES. INFAMOUS.

After several years, circumstances dictate his death, and he’s reincarnated after several more by a random guy who lost his mind due to familial abuse. (Yeah, not kidding.) That guy dies, and Ying takes over his body, not that he has a choice in the matter. Things get even more complicated when he stumbles upon people he knew in his previous life, including the epitome of straight and narrow himself, Lan Zhan.

Lan Zhan is a man from a very strict and proper cultivation clan who knew Ying from childhood. They spent some time learning together as teens and, consequently…

Well, to avoid further spoilers, I’ll just say that Lan Zhan did doth protest too much, but even he knew that after a while.

That, my readers, is just where the story BEGINS. There’s so much to unpack in this tale of love, morality, and betrayal. The show (and manga, but I’m focusing on this STUNNING show) examines ways in which things aren’t always as black and white as they seem when it comes to right and wrong. It also shows how people grow, change, and adapt to their circumstances for good or ill. So much pressure and motivation go into the choices people make, and family relationships are complicated, to say the least. Friendships fall together and apart. Do the ends justify the means?

There’s not enough self-restraint in the world that would allow me to further sing its praises without getting into heavy spoilerific content, so instead, I’ll tell you how to watch this unlicensed gem.

You CAN watch the first 13-15 episodes (season one) on YouTube thanks to Tencent, but some of those episodes may be region-locked depending on where you live. In that case (and also in order to watch season 2), I must admit… I pirated. Sort of.

I’m ALL ABOUT supporting the official release when possible; I am fortunate enough that I’m even in a financial situation that I subscribe to both HIDIVE and Funimation Now. But this is one of those shows that doesn’t (and probably will never) give a western company a license, so, in order to watch it, I had to stream it on one of the many free-to-watch pirate sites. Keeping in mind that I will ABSOLUTELY support the legal release and buy it because I love it so much, I recommend you check out one of the safer sites to watch. And then, you know, fangirl with me about it.

The show is somewhat obscure, but I can’t figure out why because it’s frankly incredible. Have you seen it? Do you love it? Let me know in the comments below! (Which I always read, guys! And I love them! My brain is just bad at letting me respond right nowwwwww <3)

~Shoujo 🌸

UPDATE: TENCENT IS UPLOADING THE CURRENT SEASON 2 CONTENT TO YOUTUBE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES AVAILABLE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. GO WATCH IT LEGALLY, FOLKS!!

I’m Finally Taking the Leap! Shoujo’s Voice Acting Commissions are OPEN

I’m getting bold, dear readers. Life’s too short to not take a leap when given the chance, and getting hurt taught me I shouldn’t wait around for “someday” when today is perfectly good!

I’ve been told by various people at work and in my personal life, “You should narrate audiobooks!” or “You should work for Disney!” I’ve done a bit of narration and acting in my real life which received gracious feedback, and while I can’t tell you how happy those comments made me, I know I’m not in a position to throw myself into seeking fulltime VA work. I’m also not a professional by any standard. It’s an occupation that takes dedication, practice, and a good deal of risk. However, none of that means I can’t take this thing I love to do and turn it into an awesome side gig/hobby. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I even made a portfolio webpage (under my real name) for if I ever worked up the nerve to pursue anything.

I guess every pipe dream needs a first step, so this is mine.

I don’t have a great setup at present (as you can probably tell from the audio quality of this reel), but I’m willing and able to upgrade if this sort of thing takes off for me. I truly think it would be great fun to voice indie otome/visual novels, for example, or narrate audiobooks. Even audio fanfiction (podfics) could be such a cool experience! I’m making my interest known in hopes that, if any of you like my short reel and happen to stumble across any projects, you’ll send me their way or vice versa! I’m ready for action, as it were!

Please take a moment to listen to my reel, if you’re interested. I’ll keep practicing as I have been, and I hope to continue improving with time and (hopefully!) experience. ❤

(And, if you’re missing my anime content, no worries! I have a new post coming next week, so please stay tuned!)

Love,

Shoujo

VA contact: shojothoughts@gmail.com

“Guide me to the world where your soul drifts”—-Supervillain Ships in “Sailor Moon”

We’re on our way back from our anniversary trip to Chicago. As part of that trip, we visited the Field Museum, and at the Field Museum we saw (amongst many other things) a gemological exhibit.

I noticed this:

We’re all thinking the same thing, right? …no?

Well, I mean… maybe it’s just me? I’ll explain in a bit, anyway. They’re pretty, though, right?

My brain 🧠 immediately whiplashed into Sailor Moon Mode (TM), and things only got worse from there:

NOW we’re all thinking the same thing, right? Yeah?

Before I know it, I’m scouring the display for Sailor Moon characters, but that’s neither here nor there. I don’t know why Naoko Takeuchi chose to name her characters (both good and bad) after gems, but it was a smart move. And this whole affair got me thinking about a great villain ship that, at this point, I probably don’t need to introduce.

But how many villains do I actually ship with their fellows and with their non-villain counterparts? I’d never actually considered it before. Thus, this article is born! I had originally planned on including villain ships from multiple franchises here, but instead, I think I’ll focus on Sailor Moon and save the rest for another day. Without further fare, so begins a reflection.

We’ll start with the pairing that began it all—Zoisite and Kunzite. Let me pull a Bernie Sanders and make it very clear; I don’t care about the relationships these characters had in the manga with the inner sailor scouts. I don’t care if this was anime-only. These two are a SHIP 🛳. Like, they have sailed, and they aren’t coming back to port, guys.

Just try and deny it.

They are such a notable, casual approach to same-sex couple depiction, especially for the 90s. They go about themselves, and clearly love each other. And honestly, I don’t like their coupling for that reason specifically, but it’s worth mentioning.

I watched the dub as a kid that turned Zoisite as a woman, and finding out much later that “she” is actually a “he” was shocking at the time. (This is the same dub that turned Neptune and Uranus into cousins instead of lovers sooo no big surprises there.) And even as a kid, it was so clear how much they mattered to each other.

They’re evil, yes, but what are their motivations? What are their actions hinting at that might run deeper than their orders? Where are their hearts? I’m not spoiling anything for those of you who want to go back and take a refresher course in their romance. I mean, hey, I’m going to do so once Husband and I get home today. Because I need a good cry today, right?

I cried. I totally cried.

I mean, “Zoisite, guide me to the world where your soul drifts” ???? True love, guys.

The original Sailor Moon Anime was surprisingly good at tugging the heartstrings. We’ll touch more on that with our next half-villain couple: Molly (or “Naru”) and Nephrite.

Okay, I know Molly is like 14, so for my sanity, Nephrite is a teenager. That’s how it is. He’s a teen. I can’t find anywhere it gives him a specific age, and it makes sense that he would be, so it’s official. He is.

Molly is totally into the guys, but Again, she’s a teenage girl, and it really isn’t any surprise. (I mean, I was a teenage girl once. I get it.) What’s most interesting about this ship is Nephrite’s particular (and fairly short) redemption arc.

Until the very end, he’s well-and-truly evil while at the same time obviously acting on his feelings for Molly. Does he use her to get to Sailor Moon? Yes. Does he stop his attack on Sailor Moon to run to Molly’s aid when she’s in trouble (after having SENSED as much just from Molly’s thoughts because he’s so in tune with her)? Also yes! He himself doesn’t understand his feelings for her, and he denies them to his fellows, yet he saves her. He laughs with her. He protects her (spoiler because I HAVE TO) at the cost of his own life.

And Nephrite’s first experience with love brings this ship home to harbor in the saddest way…

It made my heart hurt.

Even though this post founds its inspiration and beginnings in Sailor Moon, my reflection can’t end there. I’m going to have to be more observant about the villains I ship. I think I’ll put out a headcannon post in the near future as well.

What really deserves a look are the general relationships in Sailor Moon that proved tragic. Because there are a lot of them. (Saphir and Demande, I’m looking at you.)

Did these ships break you like they broke me? Let me know in the comments below! And, you know, if you find any well-written, clean fanfics, lemme know about those too? :p

Love, Shoujo 🌸

“Don’t you wanna get away?” — CMV/AMV Saturday 7/6/19

It’s probably not a secret that I enjoy music from “The Greatest Showman,” but seeing this particular song applied to Ouran High School Host Club is something else entirely. BecauseImBored1 did an excellent job using “The Other Side” to tell a very accurate story.

In the first part of the song, Tamaki is talking to each host individually (well, except the twins, but I digress). He’s saying, “Don’t you want to get away from the same old parts you gotta play?” to Honey as he struggles against being himself. He says it to the twins that they can “stay in the cage” of their own twin-centric world or they can take the key he offers and join him. Each of them can be free to fly.

But then Kyoya happens. Kyoya, whose family keeps him bound. Kyoya, who enjoys his creature comforts. Kyoya responds to Tamaki. He says that the sacrifice to visit the other side would be much too great, that he would lose his respected position, and that Tamaki is free to be himself, but Kyoya will continue on his expected path.

But then we see how deeply Tamaki has impacted Kyoya. He has influenced him to become greater than the frame into which he was painted. He said it was worth the risk. He said that he knew Kyoya wasn’t really happy. He invites him in again, and Kyoya is moved by Tamaki’s promise of freedom. There’s beauty in that freedom.

The end money matters clinches it (because hello, it’s Kyoya) and they continue the endeavor together, Mommy and Daddy of the Host Club. It’s surprisingly emotional, in all honesty, and very well put together. The scenes fit the song nicely to create a narrative.

But you would finally live a little, finally laugh a little
Just let me give you the freedom to dream 
And it’ll wake you up and cure your aching
Take your walls and start ’em breaking
Now that’s a deal that seems worth taking
But I guess I’ll leave that up to you

-The Other Side, Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman

Give the content creator some love and tell them Shoujo sent you!

~Shoujo ❤