Kyou Kara Maou OST 3

I’m a big fan of the music of Kyou Kara Maou. Youichirou Yoshikawa expertly weaves together Baroque, pop, acoustic, keyboards like something out of The Princess Bride, and swelling orchestral movie soundtrack styles for an eclectic blend worthy of the cultural mishmash that is the universe of Shin Makoku, Dai Shimaron, et al.

The actual name of the third soundtrack is 今日からマ王! ユーリ陛下・生誕記念!? 想い出のアルバム, which means “Kyou Kara Maou! King Yuuri’s Birth Commemoration?! Memory Album”. I’m guessing the “birth commemoration” thing is a reference to Yuuri’s coming-of-age ceremony, which occurs early on in season 3.

The album came out in July of last year(!), but due to the odd name, which is a far cry from the easily comprehensible “Kyou Kara Maou OST2 + D“, I didn’t realize it was a soundtrack until a couple weeks ago. Perhaps this is why the album is also referred to online as 「今日からマ王! 第3シリーズ」O.S.T.&メモリアル・ダイアローグ, or “Kyou Kara Maou Third Series OST and Memorial Dialogue”.

Regardless, I was very excited when I realized what this album was, I ordered it immediately, and I’ve spent the past couple of weeks listening to it over and over. Like the other KKM OSTs, it’s got some great pieces, with a few disappointing and surprising omissions. Here’s the rundown.

1.      閃光~魔王のテーマ3 – “Flash ~ Maou Theme 3”

This is the spooky new Maou theme that made me wonder if Yuuri was going to turn evil. It first appeared in episode 81 and was used to great effect in episode 99, when Saralegui uses Yuuri against Dai Shimaron for the first time. Though the piece initially seemed to foreshadow a moral fall, Yuuri’s purity was ultimately incorruptible, and it was Geneus and Saralegui who ended up bringing forth Soushu-like energy in the end. This theme faded out as the series progressed and Yuuri matured; it stands as a testament to what can happen if Yuuri lets his emotions rule his powers.

2.     切願~ジェネウスのテーマ – “Supplication ~ Geneus’ Theme”

This theme truly serves its purpose of representing the tragic character of Geneus. It’s sad, wistful, filled with longing, quiet, despairing. It’s the theme of a man who’s been cowed, a man who acts out the wishes of another, a man with an impotent will. There’s calm but sorrowful chanting, sad strings, and then the echo of Shinou’s theme to represent Geneus’ true desire–the very thing he can’t have.

3.     神謀~サラレギーのテーマ – “Divine Strategy ~ Saralegui’s Theme”

There are two three themes used for Saralegui, both involving Asian-style string-plucking music. (I should probably know what instrument that is, but I don’t. Some kind of lute, perhaps?) This is the more evil of the three. While I’m glad to have this creeping, calculating, overconfident theme, I wish I could also listen to the piece used at the end of episode 84 or 85, when we first see Saralegui. That version is more gentle, and I think it represents the part of Saralegui’s soul that is drawn to Yuuri. When the episode first came out, I made a .wav file from my fansub so I could listen to it. The piece can actually be heard in track 26 on this album, but Yuuri’s talking over it…I wish I had a raw version, without talking or episode sound effects. The third Saralegui theme can be heard in track 25, with Saralegui talking over it. It’s kind of between the other two; not sinister but not gentle, it’s more of a general theme.

4.     神剣 – “Divine Sword”

We first hear this piece when Shori uses the Divine Sword in episode 105(?), and it comes out again in episode 111, when Alazon appears at Blood Pledge Castle and Beryes reveals his true shinzoku appearance. It’s strikingly different from most other background music in the series, powerful, with strong, eerie organ, the low tolling of a bell, cymbal and gong crashing, and chants that seem swept along by the sheer might of the shinzoku. It’s the music of the “gods”.

5.     雄飛 – “Embarking”

When I first heard this piece, in the OVA, I was irritated. The main melody is pretty much a rip of “Fireworks” from the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix OST. However, as time has passed and I’ve listened to both pieces, I’m starting to like this one a little better. Where “Fireworks” is pretty repetitive (other than a weird guitar solo that wasn’t used in the movie), “Embarking” has interesting variations and eventually goes into a different theme. It’s kind of like Yoshikawa heard “Fireworks” and said, “I bet I could do that better!”

6.     夢現~アラゾンのテーマ – “Sleepwalking ~ Alazon’s Theme”

We first hear this piece in Saralegui’s dream/flashback about his mother. It’s a very pretty, slow and dreamy piano solo. I think it represents the more innocent time of joy and love in Alazon’s life, before the Divine Sword was stolen. If back then she was “sleepwalking”, the theft snapped her awake and hardened her resolve.

7.     襲来 – “Attack”

This is the new, oft-used fighting music. It’s similar to the old standards 戦闘 (“Battle”) and 厳峻 (not sure how to translate that one!) from OST 1–lots of drums and strings all over the place, with horns heralding the encounter.

8.     反撃 – “Counterattack”

More battle music! This slower piece is used a lot with the White Ravens and includes plenty of strings and horns. Sharp bursts call to mind running and ducking behind trees, and then the slow, charging strings and horns hail the coming onslaught. The horns do something similar to what they do in 襲来, but slower and in a diminished 7th (I’m pretty sure, anyway…I’d need to check it on a piano).

9.     試練 – “Ordeal”

This piece was used when Shinou flew up to help Yuuri at the end of episode 115 and beginning of episode 116. The low, rumbling intro and  triumphant horns call to mind a warring army, a crisis, and then a regal figure appearing to bring new hope.

10.     勇姿 – “Hero”

This piece was used for Alford and for episode previews. It’s a little more simply heroic than most of the series music–there’s no gray area, no emotional crisis, just a hero doing his thing. I like it though; it’s soaring and passionate.

11.     風の子守歌 – “Lullaby of the Wind”

This is the song Greta’s mother sang to her in the magical flashback in episode 93, which shares its name with this piece. Since this song is only used in one standalone episode, I was surprised to see it included on an album. It’s okay, but I would have rather had the Latin-inspired instrumental piece from episode 89, 花嫁はアニシナ!? (“The Bride is Anissina?!”).

12.     希望 – “Hope”

This is the quiet, gentle piece that serves the same purpose for season 3 as 追憶 (“Reminiscence”) did in the first season: it gives you warm fuzzies. It’s pretty and soothing. It’s used for episode denouement and for quiet times at the palace.

13.     架橋 – “Bridge”

This is actually a variation on 邂逅 (“Chance Meeting”) from OST 2. The tempo’s the same, and the left-hand piano is identical, but the piano right hand is an octave higher doing a pretty little theme that would probably act as a good harmony to the original piece. The strings come in later, swelling to support the right hand piano theme. It’s a nice variation, but I think I prefer the original.

14.     宿運 – “Destiny”

This is the spooky piece that’s always associated with Murata/Daikenja and Shinou. It’s often played in the Shinou Temple. The theme is actually a slow, more haunting variation on 畏敬~眞王のテーマ~ (“Reverence ~Shinou’s Theme~”) from OST 2.

15.     帰還~ジェネウスのテーマ2 – “Return ~ Geneus’ Theme 2”

This is a vocal version of the music played in episode 116, when Yuuri saves Geneus’ soul and all the dark power is transformed into beautiful energy snowflakes. I do enjoy the vocal, but I prefer the instrumental and really wish it had been included on the album. It can be heard in track 25, with Saralegui talking over it.

The next eleven tracks are the individual voice actors performing lines from throughout the show–or, in Conrad’s case, paraphrasing, since much of Conrad’s character development didn’t occur in easily-recognizable dialogue.

16.     ユーリのメモリー for コンラッド – “Yuuri’s Memory for Conrad”

17.     コンラッドのメモリー – “Conrad’s Memory”

18.     ギュンターのメモリー – “Gunter’s Memory”

19.     ヴォルフラムのメモリー – “Wolfram’s Memory”

20.     ユーリのメモリー for ヴォルフラム – Yuuri’s Memory for Wolfram”

21.     グウェンダルのメモリー – “Gwendal’s Memory”

22.     村田のメモリー – “Murata’s Memory”

23.     ユーリのメモリー for 村田 – “Yuuri’s Memory for Murata”

24.     勝利のメモリー – “Shori’s Memory”

25.     サラレギーのメモリー – “Saralegui’s Memory”

26.     ユーリのメモリー for サラレギー – Yuuri’s Memory for Saralegui”

27.     大切なもの(TVsize) – “The Important Thing (TV Version)”

This is the light pop song played in episodes 92 and 117. It’s kind of cheesy, but nice.

One piece I was very sorry to discover was not included at all, not even as background music for a memory, was the Latin-influenced instrumental from episode 89, 花嫁はアニシナ!? (“The Bride is Anissina?!”). The piece is played when Gwendal drags Anissina away from the castle and everyone (even the audience) thinks they’re eloping. It isn’t used anywhere else in the series. It’s just lovely, and I’d like to listen to it on repeat. There were also several pieces used as background music in the Memory tracks that I’d like to have clean.

In all, though, I’m pretty pleased with this album. It’s great to have so much more of the music I love, and the memory tracks provide good Japanese listening practice. Maybe in a future post I’ll break down what’s said in each of the tracks.

The iPhone as a travel tool

Thanks to its size, GPS, and various applications, the iPhone has become invaluable for self-guided travel. You can save money, space, and time by using your phone rather than taking guided tours, fighting with bulky maps, and wandering around aimlessly. The iPhone can also help you save the memories you make on your trip, through text, images, audio, video, and location tracking.

Getting Around


The first and most obvious tool in your iPhone’s travel arsenal comes pre-installed. With the Maps application, not only can you find where you are and get directions to where you want to be, but you can search for different businesses and types of businesses around you.

Mobile Streetmaps

If you’re out of service area or roaming and you can’t connect to wifi, the Maps application becomes pretty useless. Sometimes even when you are connected, Maps doesn’t load at the speed you need. Prepare for this scenario with Mobile Streetmaps ($1.99 per map).

These maps are saved to your phone, so they’re viewable even when you’re offline. Purchase a map in advance for the city you’re visiting, and you’ll be able to find your way around no matter what your connection status. You can find these maps in the App Store by searching for the name of the city, or by searching for “”.

Mobile Streetmaps is a must if you’re connected but roaming and don’t want to deal with massive data charges. Without GPS, all you’ll need to do is run a search for nearby streets to find your location. Since all the information is stored on your phone, there’s no data charge. With GPS, your coordinates will be matched with your location on the map saved to your phone. Since GPS does not use your phone’s data plan, there will again be no data charge.

This excellent user manual walks you through the process of using Mobile Streetmaps, including useful features like searching for amenities and saving locations for later.

Note: The maps in Mobile Streetmaps come from OpenStreetMap, meaning they are community-generated like Wikipedia. This means there may be incomplete areas.

Check out the FAQ for good information on why and how to use Mobile Streetmaps.

Enhancing Your Experience

Audio and video walking tours of some cities are available as iPhone applications. Since these applications are fully installed on your phone, they can give you a location-enhanced experience without using your data plan–like Mobile Streetmaps, all they require is GPS.

Some of the apps have features that do use data; when you’re roaming, watch for links to search results, internet content, or the Maps app to be sure you’re not incurring extra fees. (You can avoid this problem by accessing these features while connected to wifi, or by turning off Data Roaming in Settings > General > Network.)

Right now it seems that various small companies are building tours of their own cities first, then attempting to branch out; I haven’t seen a company with an app for more than one city yet.

These are the cities I’ve found; doubtless there are more out there.

The London Audio Guide ($5.99) will use your current location to pull up audio, text, pictures, and a map of nearby attractions. The app includes over 150 landmarks, and all of this content is downloaded upon install, so you won’t have data charges. For an added bit of fun context, the “More Info” button brings up quick links for Google results, Twitter mentions, Flickr images, and Google News results for the location. These options will, of course, use your data plan (or wifi).

City Slicker: Charleston ($9.99 normally; on sale for $0.99 at time of writing) is a video walking tour. Each stop includes text, images, and a video tour with a qualified guide. This content will not be automatically downloaded when you first install the app; to make sure you have everything pre-loaded, you’ll need to tap the “PREFS” button in the upper right and then tap “Download All Content”.

Tour Buddy’s Savannah Walking Tour ($9.99) is a professionally-recorded audio tour with pictures. You can choose to follow their recommended route, or visit the attractions in your own order. You can navigate through either a menu or a tour map without using your data plan.

The fun thing about these apps is that you can use them anywhere. You can preview the tour from home or from your hotel before you head out. This can help you know what to look for ahead of time. The London Audio Guide is also available for free online, if you’d rather preview that content on your desktop or laptop.

Save and Share Your Experience


There are many ways you can chronicle your trip using your iPhone. The native Notes application lets you save text to your phone that can be emailed or copy-and-pasted later. This is a good option if you don’t want to use data while you’re out and about. You can also simply save memos to be expanded into a full blog post or private journal entry later.

You can also send brief updates to the world using Twitter or Facebook, either through those services’ free iPhone apps or via text messaging. When I visited England last year I updated Twitter via text message. I was hit with roaming fees and text message fees, but I didn’t incur data fees. You have to make a judgment call based on the charges for each service which one you want to use, or whether you want to use them at all.

If you like the immediacy of Twitter, but don’t want to incur data or text message fees, try Birdhouse ($1.99). This app will let you save drafts of tweets to be published later. The pros of using this rather than simply saving your thoughts in Notes are the robust sorting system, the countdown that lets you know how many characters you have left, and the fact that you can easily publish right from the application. One possible con is that your tweets won’t indicate the time you first wrote them, but the time you eventually publish them…so if you want to give your followers some context, you may need to include the time of writing in the tweet.

You can also blog from your iPhone–again, this will use data. Most blog systems have a post-by-email feature, which you can use without having to install an app–simply email from Notes or from Mail itself. However, this may result in some formatting oddities such as line breaks, and if you want to add photos, you can only do five at a time.

BlogPress ($2.99) is a robust third-party blogging tool that supports Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type/TypePad, LiveJournal, and others. This app will auto-save your posts as you write them. It has functionality for embedding photos and videos and adding tags and categories. You can tell the app to add location information to your post, and you can also have it send notices to your Twitter and/or Facebook when your posts are published.

WordPress also has its own iPhone application, which is free. This application not only supports posting, but also editing posts and pages and moderating comments.


Your iPhone comes equipped with a great way to save and share your trip: the Camera/Photos app. You can take pictures all day–or as long as your battery holds out–and then upload them to your favorite photo site from home or your hotel later. If you’re on wifi, not roaming, or willing to incur data charges, you can even update on the go.

As mentioned above, most blogging systems have post-by-email options, so a low-tech solution for getting your pictures online would be simply emailing them to your blog. The leading photo hosting sites also have their own mobile pages and applications.

SmugMug, my photo site of choice, has a free app called SmugShot that lets you take photos, caption and tag, and immediately upload in full size. SmugShot also geotags your photos, something the native camera app does not do. By default, SmugShot will upload to a generic gallery that is created automatically. However, you can adjust where photos go in the “Account” area. If you want to change this, be sure to do it before you start taking photos.

The fun thing about automatic geotagging is that you can go back later and see where you were when you took each picture. SmugMug’s “Map This” button on galleries is especially nice for this purpose.

Another fun camera application is shoot it! With this app, you can send a regular mail postcard of one of your photos right when you take it. Snap a shot of yourself in front of Big Ben, then use shoot it! to mail that photo to all your friends with a personalized note. The app itself is free; credits for sending postcards have price breaks if you buy in bulk.

Audio or Video Journaling

If words and pictures aren’t enough and you want to save and share an audiovisual experience, your iPhone can do that too.

The native Voice Memos application lets you record and trim audio, then either email it or send it via MMS. Similarly, with the Video Recording app, you can record and trim video. Within the native app, video can be sent by email, MMS, or directly to YouTube.

You can post video, audio, text, and more to Tumblr using the free Tumblr iPhone application. Posterous is even easier. Just email whatever the content is–text, photo, audio, or video–to In this blog post, Steven Sande describes using Posterous to publish an audio podcast.

The BlogPress app mentioned above can put your videos on YouTube and your blog.

Qik ($0.99) is a video blogging app that lets you record and upload video content. You can keep your videos private or share them with the world; you can choose to add your location or not. Qik can be connected to your existing blog and YouTube accounts. It can also send updates via Twitter and Facebook whenever you upload or stream a video. With the Qik Live app (free), you can even live stream video. Here’s more information.

Mapping Your Travels

As I mentioned above, one way to chart where you went on your trip is to take geotagged photos with SmugShot. But if you don’t use SmugMug, or if you’d like your tracking experience to be more interactive, you can use a free location-based social media application like Gowalla or Foursquare to share your location. These apps let people know what you’re doing geographically in a fun way. You can collect prizes, earn titles, and add friends to see what they’re up to.

Gowalla lets you add photos, complete “trips”, bookmark locations, and comment on your friends’ check-ins. Foursquare lets you add reviews, encouraging you to be specific so your friends will know what to do or try at that location.

Yelp (free) lets you find and write location reviews. You can add friends, find nearby businesses and landmarks, search for certain types of location, bookmark locations, and, like Gowalla and Foursquare, check in at a location. Because it’s primarily a review site, Yelp can help you pick what restaurant you want to try or park you want to explore.

Which app you use is really a matter of preference: how do you want to store and share your location? Which interface do you prefer? What features do you want? They’re free, so it’s not a big deal to try them all out and see which you like best.

Bear in mind that all of these apps integrate GPS functionality with online databases, so you will be pulling data.

Battery Life

If you’re using your iPhone intensively on your trip, the battery isn’t going to last the day. As many have unhappily noted, you can’t just carry spare batteries to swap out, either. Fortunately, there are some things you can do.

Whenever you go out, bring along the USB cord and power adapter that came with your phone. This way, if you stop at a place where you can use a power outlet, you can charge your phone. Apple sells a World Travel Adapter Kit that will allow you to plug in in most countries.

You can also carry external backup batteries. Kensington sells a large portable battery/recharger for the iPhone, a mini rechargeable battery with its own USB charging cable, and a dock that can charge both your phone and a mini battery. If you started out each day with a few fully-charged mini batteries, you’d probably be good to go. (Other companies have similar offerings; I linked to Kensington here because I’ve used their products before and have been pleased with them.)

If you’re driving, several third-party companies have iPhone/iPod car chargers. I have a Kensington car charger/audio adapter that is no longer on the market; while mine cradles the iPhone at the power adapter, this current model mounts to the windshield, plugging into the socket via an unobtrusive cord. (To play your iPhone music through your car’s speakers, you would then need a cable like this.)

If you’re biking, Make has a tutorial on how to harness that energy to recharge your phone. It looks like many people have built similar devices independently, but I couldn’t find a consumer product.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a solution for recharging using the energy of walking. Perhaps someday we’ll have kinetic batteries and battery chargers for our phones. In the meantime, you can always use a hand-crank radio/flashlight/USB cell phone charger in a pinch.

Beyond keeping recharging solutions at hand, you can also follow this advice from Apple to maximize your battery life.

Safety and Privacy

Don’t Share Too Much

It can be a lot of fun to post content immediately and check in with a location service everywhere you go, but you should keep in mind that constantly updating your location online can make it simple for strangers to find you. I recommend updating sporadically, and checking in to a location when you’re about to leave rather than when you arrive. It’s also best not to update your social networking status with a note about where you’re headed, unless that particular network is locked so only your friends can see your status.

If you’re exploring the area around where you’re staying, I suggest trying not to post location information that could possibly lead someone there. Instead of checking in along the way, wait until you arrive at an attraction to post. And if you’re alone, try not to make that obvious.

Be careful with photo geotagging. There is no way to turn it off on a per-photo basis in SmugShot. If there’s a location you don’t want to have on a map, like a friend or relative’s house or a place you’ll be for a few hours, take that picture with the basic camera app. You can then upload the photo using SmugShot, and no geotagging will occur.

If you accidentally upload a geotagged photo, you can remove the location information using SmugMug’s full web interface. Go to the photo in your gallery, tap on “Tools”, tap on “More” under “This Photo”, and tap “Edit Geography”. You will then be able to remove the latitude and longitude coordinates.

If you’d rather not deal with geotagging at all, you can turn it off completely in Settings > SmugShot.

Have a Backup

Don’t be utterly dependent on your iPhone. Do research before you go on your trip. Prepare for the possibility of not having the phone at all.

Learn what you need to know to get around and what to look for if you get lost. Try to familiarize yourself with the main streets of the area you’re visiting, including the location of where you parked or where you’re staying relative to everything else. It would also probably be best to have a hard copy map, just in case.

If you’re visiting a country with a different language, learn how to ask for help and how to read and say important words like “police”, “embassy”, “lost”, “sick”, and “hospital”.

When you’re out and about on your trip, pay attention to places where you might go for help if you need it. Also pay attention to where you can get water, food, and money in case of emergencies.

Protect the Information on Your iPhone

Your iPhone has a lot of information about you stored on it. If your phone is lost or stolen, you don’t want to be left open to identity theft.

The first thing you should do is set a code for unlocking your phone. Go into Settings > General and tap “Passcode Lock”. You will be asked to enter a 4-digit code, then enter it again in order to set the code. Once this feature is enabled, no one will be able to unlock your phone without the code.

You can also protect your iPhone with iHound ($2.99). This application lets you use your phone’s GPS to track its location. The best way to use iHound is to turn it on whenever you finish using your phone. Even if you don’t do that, though, once you realize your phone is missing, you can send it an alarm via a push notification from the iHound website. The push notification will turn iHound on automatically if someone tries to open the phone to turn off the alarm.

As you can see, the iPhone is an amazing tool for travelers. There are plenty of other options out there that I couldn’t get to in this post, like language dictionaries, currency converters, and of course the compass that’s available on 3GS iPhones. Do a little digging and you’ll probably find a way to do everything you want to do on your next vacation.

Kyou Kara Maou OST 2 + D

The second Kyou Kara Maou OST was released on April 23. It includes two discs, with the OST on one and a drama on the other.

I haven’t listened to the drama yet, but I’ve played the hell out of the OST.

This soundtrack is wonderful, but there were some surprising omissions. The music that plays at the amusement park during the “apple tree” flashback is one obvious example. I don’t care so much about having that, but I’m surprised that it was left out. I was really looking forward to having the updated version of track 18, 降臨 (kourin, advent or descent), from the first OST. That’s Yuuri’s Maou-mode music…or at least, it’s the music that often plays when Yuuri enters Maou-mode. Tracks 4 and 5 from OST 2 actually claim to be Maou themes, but I will always associate track 4 with Shinou, as discussed below.

Here’s the rundown:

1. 出陣 (shutsujin, Departure for the Front)

2. 曲宴 (Banquet Music)

3. 畏敬~眞王のテーマ~ (ikei~shinou no teima, Reverence~Shinou’s Theme)

Note: This is not the “shin” that means new or ultimate. This is actually the kanji for a person named Shin.

4. 絶大~新・魔王のテーマ1~ (zetsudai~shin maou no teima 1, Immense~New Maou Theme 1)

Note: This “shin” is the one that means new.

5. 必殺~新・魔王のテーマ2~ (hissatsu~shin maou no teima 2, Certain Kill~New Maou Theme 2)

6. 春暖~新・ギュンターのテーマ~ (shundan~shin gyuntaa no teima, Spring Warmth~Gunter’s New Theme)

7. 探求~アニシナのテーマ~ (tankyou~anishina no teima, Quest~Anissina’s Theme)

8. 清風~ダンヒーリーのテーマ~ (seifuu~danhiirii no teima, Refreshing Breeze~Dunheely’s Theme)

This is my all-time favorite track. That’s kind of odd, since I don’t recall ever hearing it in the anime whatsoever.

9. 慈愛~ジュリアのテーマ1~ (jiai~jyuria no teima, Kindness~Julia’s Theme)
10. 悲哀~ジュリアのテーマ2~ (hiai~jyuria no teima 2, Sadness~Julia’s Theme 2)
11. 宿命~勝利のテーマ~ (shukumei~shouri no teima, Destiny~Shouri’s Theme)
12. ありがとう~(インストゥルメンタル1) (arigatou~insuturumentaru 1, Thank You~Instrumental 1)
13. 危機 (kiki, Crisis)
14. 火蓋 (hibuta, Gun Barrel Cover?)
15. 拮抗 (kikko, Rivalry)
16. 光明 (koumyou, Hope)
17. 進軍 (shingun, March)
18. 決戦 (kessen, Decisive Battle)
19. 約束 (yakusoku, Promise)
20. 想望 (soubou, Yearning)
21. 邂逅 (kaikou, Chance Meeting)
22. サブタイトル (sabutaitoru, Subtitle)
23. アイキャッチ (aikyacchi, Eyecatch)
24. 予告 (yokoku, Next Episode Preview)
25. ありがとう~(インストゥルメンタル2) (arigatou~insuturumentaru 2, Thank You~Instrumental 2)

Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi

Let me say first off that I have no idea how to translate the title, which is 天保異聞 妖奇士 in Japanese. Tenpo is a period in Japanese history; the show starts off in Tenpo 14, or 1843. As a prophetess(?) in the show remarks, that’s 10 years before Commodore Perry and his black ships.

Ibun means “strange tale”.

The kanji 妖 has the connotation of ghosts or monsters, but I can’t find an entry for it on the WWWJDIC with the pronunciation ayakashi.

Ayashi is what the group of main cast is called. They fight supernatural beings from another dimension. The first part of that kanji, 奇, has the connotation of ghostliness or otherworldliness. The second part, 士, can mean “officer” (or soldier, I would assume).

So maybe “The Strange Tale of Tenpo Period Supernatural Fighters”? I don’t know.

Regardless, I’m really enjoying the show so far. The historical references are great.

I also love that there’s a guy who wears a tall hat, like Sai. (That he dresses like a woman the rest of the time is none of my business ;P) There’s also a guy who looks like Gwendal.

The plot is really interesting. Somehow, fighting monsters from another dimension is the duty of people who have studied foreign countries. Because that’s going to give you a leg up against monsters. Up until recently they’ve been able to kill the monsters without letting the general populace know of their existence, but things seem to be rapidly changing.

They recently introduced a character who is a direct descendant of the destroyed Aztec culture, and her supernatural companion, Quetzalcotl. :D

I’ll leave you with a picture of my favorite not-quite-character, Kumoshichi.

Quick anime reactions

Kanon 3

Boring. Not as boring as the original anime incarnation. But I’m only watching because Kyon’s in it.

Himawari! 4

Still waiting for this dude to realize his ninja heritage and go apeshit.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge 3


Well. At least their lips aren’t quite as pink now. Either that or I’m getting used to it…

Seriously, this is fun. It goes all kinds of weird places.

Asatte no Houkou 3

They’re not related by blood! I sense a love triangle coming on. ;P

Prince of Tennis: National Championship 4

Ludicrous speed, go! (I mean, I like my Prince of Tennis ludicrous, but at least normally somebody explains the ludicrousness so that it halfwaysorta makes sense.)

Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi 2

How many people knew from the beginning that nobody else could see that guy? *waves hand*

NANA 23 and 24

Just…wow. This is one of the best series, with some of the best character development, I have ever seen. And that’s in general, not just in anime.

Where I’m at with my anime

(In-joke: Korn rocks!)

Huge Haruhi fan. Can’t wait for the next episode.

Fate/stay night is getting [ableist slur removed on 10/26/2016].

Rewatching Touch has been so great. I’m almost to the end. I’d be done if I had it all downloaded.

Yakitate!! Japan is hilarious as always. I’ll be sorry to see it end.

I’ve given up on Gakuen Heaven. The second episode was too creepy for me. I think I’ll say “no thanks” to boys love anime in the future.

Nana is fantastic. Watch it.

I’m so far behind on Bleach and Naruto it’s not even funny. I’m not sure I would even know where to begin catching up.

Still waiting for more Prince of Tennis: National Championship. That first episode was so awesome. It totally made up for the original show’s sucky ending.

And that’s about it. I’ve been thinking a lot about Full Moon wo Sagashite lately. Maybe when I’m done with Touch, I’ll go back and watch that again.

Addendum 5/21: I watched the first episode of Shinigami no Ballad today. Not sure I have any interest in watching more. The main character is boring, and it looks like the premise is that she goes around killing people and feeling bad about it. I can do without the depression, you know?

Kyou Kara Maou 52

I mean, yow.

And yet…somehow, I’m not affected as profoundly as I would have expected. Watching the Rutenberg warriors riding off to their deaths…I felt it, but didn’t, at the same time. And by the end, I was just shaking my head, because the Shinou had done it again. I’m starting to tire of his string-pulling. And also of Murata’s little comments…because really, what has the Shinou done that’s so bad? If there’s going to be a conflict between Yuuri and the Shinou, can it go ahead and happen already?

I think part of why the episode didn’t work for me was due to an error in translation. One scene involves Cheri freaking out. The translation has Stoffel bark at her that she now has the chance to redeem herself, and she should be happy. However, I’m pretty sure that he’s actually referring to Conrad, and the other Rutenberg warriors. I mean, that would make more sense…what does Cheri have to redeem herself for? And the whole point of the episode is that Conrad and the other “half-breeds” are going to the front lines. Plus, Cheri laments the fact that she can’t do anything to save “that child”, which I’m certain refers to Conrad. I think the purpose of the scene was to add weight to the Rutenberg tragedy, but the mistranslation only took away from it. It made me confused–I spent time wondering what Cheri needed redemption for, rather than focusing on the tragedy that was about to occur.

I watched the episode twice, and it was only on the second viewing that it occurred to me that it might be mistranslated. By then, of course, I’d already had my initial reaction to the episode, so realizing what was really going on didn’t have the same effect as it would have. But I don’t want to just blame the translation for my lack of emotion. The episode itself is flawed, a vignette that really serves no purpose other than to maintain the status quo. I can accept that from comedic filler episodes, but not as easily from plot episodes. Something else should have happened.

But Yuuri came back, and saw Conrad, and almost said something…and didn’t.

I think that bothered me the most of all.

This may be a cultural difference that I just don’t understand. People are not nearly so forthcoming with their emotions in Japan as they are here in the US. Maybe that look shared between them was overwhelmingly enough, in Japanese culture.

But to visit the past of the one who loves your soul–the one who could never have the love of your past self (episode 50, anyone?), to see the past that you’re working to prevent happening again, to see his suffering…and then not say anything?

Something needs to be resolved there, and ending the episode like that gave no indication that resolution will ever happen.

The show has a history of putting off resolutions. Yuuri found out he had Julia’s soul in episode 35, but he never asked about it. Really, he didn’t consider the matter much at all until he was forced to, in the most recent story arc (episodes 48-50), and even then he never asked. It’s been a little more understandable up until now, because at first, he couldn’t ask Conrad, because Conrad was with Big Shimaron…and many things occurred in the meantime that could easily make him forget, or at least put off asking. There’s also the fact that he’s likely being sensitive to Conrad’s feelings…and also, after episode 49 especially, questioning his relationship with Conrad.

But there’s a limit to the believability of Yuuri’s silence, and I think we’ve passed it.


Have you seen The Batman? I watched an episode the other day, and now it’s on again. It’s really neat! The art is just odd enough to be interesting without being irritating (so much of modern American animation art annoys me these days), and the animation is both smooth and stylistically choppy. Some CG work was obviously used, but it blends really well. I like the story, too–it’s a younger Batman, and he’s got all kinds of crazy gadgets. I guess it feels like a sequel to Batman Begins, in a way.

The opening credits are hilarious, too: music with a slightly techno, slightly 70’s flavor, bright horns for all the pows and socks–I love the reference to the Adam West series ;>

The clincher? Barbara Gordon just said, “Brucey, you are so the Batman.” XD

My reaction to Pulp Fiction

All right. Dinner.

  • One medium Dr Pepper, no ice
  • 8-pc chicken nuggets from Chik-Fil-A
  • Medium waffle fries
  • Cole slaw

Is that how you spell it? “Cole slaw”? What a ridiculous term.

I suppose my readers–yes, all two of you–are wondering what happened to the sushi. Well, Sean was already late getting home because he stopped off at his parents’ house to pick up a few things he still hadn’t moved over here. I saw his saxophone case and a computer case in his car, and apparently there’s more stashed in there somewhere. He also ran around to Best Buy and to the Suncoast in the mall, looking for movies. I’m not sure what got him in the mood to watch a movie tonight, but he called me and said he was looking to buy one or more of the following: Pulp Fiction, The Transporter, and Aliens. It turned out that Aliens is currently out of print, due to its initial DVD release being of rather poor quality, and is due to be rereleased in an Alien box set this winter. He finally decided to get Pulp Fiction only, but the mall wanted $10 more than Best Buy, so he swung by the apartment, picked me up, and we ran over to Best Buy.

On the way he told me that he was supposed to meet someone on AC2 at 9pm. This meant that we would have to rush at dinner. I said that we should go to Chik-Fil-A instead, then, and save the sushi for when we had more time. Part of what I love about eating out is not being rushed and just enjoying the evening. So we grabbed Pulp Fiction–and the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack–at Best Buy and then crossed the street to grab some Chik-Fil-A. We came home and Sean was all ready to watch the movie.

I was a little hesitant. I know that Pulp Fiction is one of those movies everyone has seen and that it’s critically acclaimed and all, but I’d heard some rumors about what it was like, and quite frankly I was a little afraid of it. So I wasn’t too thrilled about watching it right away. It turned out that my DVD player couldn’t handle the DVD…it has problems with most modern discs, unfortunately. I thought I was saved, but Sean said we could just watch it on my computer. I relented because he really seemed to want to see it.

I have just retrieved

  • One glass of sugar-free raspberry juice

I wanted ice cream, but I didn’t want to write that I was eating ice cream like a wuss because I was afraid of a movie. :P

So we were watching Pulp Fiction. The initial scene was annoying, but it didn’t really bother me. Well, except maybe that kiss, because it was kind of gross. I like kisses and kissing scenes, but that one was sloppy, and it also felt stupid. I mean, these were robbers. Congratufuckinglations on loving each other, but could you stop being assholes?

Anyway, my reaction to the next scene pretty much set the tone for the rest of what I saw of the film. Travolta and Jackson’s commentary is amusing, but as things go on and the plot is unfurled I can sense that something is going to happen. Something I know I am not going to like. Something involving violence. I watched Desperado; I’ve seen flying gore and guts. But that’s the kind of movie where it doesn’t matter because it’s so sudden and surprising. It’s cartoony almost. With this, I had to deal with the waiting. Waiting while they chatted with one another, bringing up topics that were seemingly irrelevant–although of course I could tell that everything was included with a purpose. All their apparently inane chatter did was build up the tension. And when they arrived to do the job, instead of simply getting it done…they built up the tension even more.

When Jackson finally shot the guy on the couch, I jerked as if I had been the one shot. And then the guy in the chair began sniveling and I knew he was going to die. I knew it would happen; why wouldn’t they go ahead and kill him? But no, they had to torture him, had to taunt him, had to teach him a lesson. I felt like I was the one being tortured and lectured to, and it just wouldn’t stop, until finally they were filling the guy with bullets. But seeing him executed was not a relief. It did not relax me, because I knew that the movie was just beginning, and that things far worse than this were coming.

I knew I wasn’t safe. I knew that I was going to see things I didn’t want to see. I tried to build up my courage, but I was already hugging my elbows, frozen in my chair. I couldn’t eat my dinner. (Until later ;P)

The drug dealer scene was surreal and pathetic, but it allowed me to relax a little. I began to cringe again when Travolta shot up. And then he was on his way to see Uma Thurman–a beautiful woman who I found horribly unattractive in this film–and she kept being druggy-sexy, and you knew she was off-limits, and you were just waiting for the shit to hit the fan, and it did, with a fucking vengeance. And the tension just kept building.

The direction…it’s brilliant, perfect. It makes you scared about what’s coming next because you know something‘s coming. This is the kind of movie where the plot flows naturally and beautifully but instead of riding along with it, you’re being yanked behind on a choker chain that keeps getting tighter and tighter. You never choke, and sometimes it loosens, but there’s never enough slack to breathe completely, and then you’re being dragged along again and the noose around your neck just gets tighter and tighter.

It was uncomfortable. It was scary. It was a crawly panicky feeling in my gut that made me want to scream.

By the time we got to Bruce Willis’ escape from the boxing ring and his meeting with his strange lover, I couldn’t take it anymore. They kept talking and talking and I kept cringing and waiting for the door to burst open and for someone to riddle their bodies with bullets. The tension was too much, it was just too much. I got up and left the room and sat on the toilet and cried.

I am a total fucking wuss.

I sat there curled up and let myself cry until I was done. When I finally managed to calm down, I washed my face and came back into the office and told Sean that I didn’t think I could watch the rest of the movie.

“Why not?” he asked.

I hugged him around the shoulders from behind; he was still seated at his computer. “Because I don’t like it,” was the answer I came up with.

“Fair enough.”

My husband is a very understanding man. I don’t think AJ would have accepted that reason.

I wanted to explain it to him, but I’m not sure I’ve even adequately described my feelings here. The movie was a pressure cooker, I guess, and I was the first steam to flee. It’s not something that makes me jump for joy and be proud of being me, that’s for sure.

So I asked Sean to tell me what happens in the rest of the movie, and he did. Now that I know exactly what is going to occur, I might be able to watch it…but not today, not right now. Right now I’d just like to calm back down, drink my raspberry juice, and chat on IRC. Then I’ll go to bed and snuggle under the covers and try to forget the horror.