07 Ghost [Manga]: One of My Favourite Manga Worlds

Although I finished this manga quite a while ago, I felt the need to re-read it before reviewing it. Gothic fantasy 07 Ghost is a 17 volume (99 chapter) manga created by Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara (published 2005-2014).

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What’s it about?

Teito Klein is a former sklave (slave) attending the Barsburg Military Academy where he trains to become a soldier by mastering ‘Zaiphon’; a supernatural power that can be used in weapons. Teito has little memory of his past, and suffers from disjointed, fragmented dreams that are his only clue. Despite all of this, he does have one friend; Mikage Celestine, and the night before their final exam, the two make a vow to never abandon each other. However, when Teito overhears a conversation involving Chief of Staff Ayanami, a visitor to the academy, he suddenly regains part of his memory, and realises that he is the Crown Prince of the destroyed Raggs Kingdom, and that Ayanami is responsible for killing his father. After attempting to attack Ayanami in revenge, Teito is imprisoned, but with the help of Mikage, he manages to escape and ends up finding sanctuary in the Barsburg Church. Initially weary of the church, Teito is reassured by the bishops Castor, Frau, and Labrador, that he is safe. As Teito learns more about the Barsburg-Raggs War in an attempt to trigger the return of his memories, he is catapulted into a quest for revenge and self-discovery, right in the middle of a long-standing conflict between the evil fallen servant of God, Verloren, and God’s faithful servants, the Seven Ghosts.

The Positives

One thing that I really love about this manga is the art. All of the main characters are draw to be really pretty, and the clothes, especially the military and Bishop uniforms, are very cool. There is a lot of detail paid to the little things, such as hairstyles, accessories, and subtle differences between clothes to specify rank, which really brings the world to life. The “focus shots” (where there isn’t a lot happening in the scene, but a lot of art on the page) really demonstrate the beautiful Gothic atmosphere of the manga.

I hate you, but you're pretty cool

Amazing Art!

The whole manga has a really cool mythology and world history that is built throughout it. I am a sucker for world-building, so I just love all the attention in this manga. I can almost say I’m more interested in the world than the actual story, but that’s only a credit to how real it is created. Also, the Ghosts are just so, so cool.

The majority of the characters in this manga are pretty likeable, or at the least, not out-right hate-able. Teito proves to be your standard sweet and dedicated protagonist, the three Bishops round out the main supporting cast nicely with Castor’s cool calculations, Labrador’s absent mindedness, and Frau’s coolness. Our antagonist Ayanami and his subordinates are perhaps the more interesting character group. I am a little disappointed with the distinct lack of female characters, and our only real female character, Ouka, pales in comparison to her male-counterparts in terms of characterisation and development.

Bishops

A fun cast!

Overall, the story has a nice mixture of everything; sadness, comedy, plenty of drama, military tactics, battles, and so on. The pacing is good at the beginning and it accelerates nicely to the climax of the plot. It is a typical adventure plot, but an enjoyable ride nevertheless.

The Negatives

Rather contradictory to what I said above, I also had issues with the art. Everything I said above holds true for most scenes, but once the notion of movement in introduced, it can be quite difficult to figure out what’s going on. In fact, for the majority of action or battle scenes, I needed to closely inspect every panel several times, which is very tiresome and quickly becomes boring. Furthermore, the artist loves to detail her work with unnecessary lines, flowers, or literally anything, to give it an overly “breezy” effect, which only adds into the problem. On top of that, it because increasingly difficult towards the end to tell characters apart, as they’re all male, they’re all pretty, and they’re usually either wearing military of church attire.

The story, as I mentioned previously, is fairly standard, but the ending is a little disappointing in retrospect, because it isn’t entirely clear what happens, and seems to be a little bit of a cop-out.

Conclusion

Art:  7.5/10: If it wasn’t for difficulty in following action scenes, this would be a solid 9/10.

Story: 7/10: Whilst the story isn’t groundbreaking, and ending is a minor let-down, the overall ride is enjoyable.

Characters: 7.5/10: Again, nothing groundbreaking, but overall a fun cast to follow.

I found the world-building to be one of the most interesting aspects of this manga, and I adore all of the detail the creators but into the mythology and history. The story is interesting enough to keep you in it, the characters are likeable, and there is enough going on to appeal to everyone. Clearer art would have been nicer, but the overall Gothic and dark fantasy atmosphere is beautiful. Overall, I give it a 7.5/10.

-S

7 Ghosts

So, so, SO cool!

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Celebrating: Jooheon, Lay, and Zelo!

Here’s a list of up-coming birthdays of some of my favourite Korean celebrities, and why I love them so much! (All ages are international ages). -S

Jooheon

Jooheon

Baby-faced but serious Jooheon is a rapper from the seriously underrated K-Pop group Monsta X. I started liking him almost immediately after watching the group’s survival show ‘No Mercy‘. What did I like about him? Probably the fact that his outside appearance really doesn’t match his voice and general presence when performing; watch this clip to see him change from the cute boy-next-door to the “monster rapper” you hear in the group’s songs. I also like him because he’s literally afraid of everything, and he just seems like a genuinely nice guy. With rapping, singing, and dancing skills in his repertoire, I believe Jooheon is bound for a bright future. Happy 24th birthday on October 6th!

Yixing

Lay

Lay, otherwise known as Zhang Yixing, is a Chinese singer who is most well-known for his membership in the K-Pop group EXO, but most recently, has been establishing a solo career in his home country. I’ve professed my love for Lay on this blog many times before. A talented singer and dancer, I think I first liked him because of his generally dazed/confused appearance, his cuteness, and, well, his face. I’m not sorry, I’m a sucker for dimples. As I learnt more about him, I was super impressed by his hardworking ethos and charitable nature. Whilst I was in China teaching, this was something that my students admired the most about him! I hope he is proud of what he has achieved, as I’m sure his country and his family are. Happy 27th birthday on October 7th!

Zelo

Zelo

The tall baby rapper from BAP is the final celebrity to feature here. I’ve liked Zelo from when I first got into BAP, probably because he was initially the only one I could recognise consistently across MVs (thanks to his height and unusual hair choices), and secondly because of his impressively fast rap. Since the group’s comeback in 2015, Zelo has shown everyone that he’s certainly grown up, but his sweet nature and general softness is pretty evident. I’m sure he’s actually a bit of a prankster behind the scenes, but his shy personality means he’s quite underrated in the group. I’m sure he will grow in confidence the older he gets! Happy 22nd birthday on October 15th!

Back Again!

Hello again!

Yes, I’m back again! Back in Australia for a few months of R&R, and back to blogging for a little bit, since I suddenly have time again!

Firstly; minor update on my life. I’m still loving teaching English in China and I’ll be heading back to the same city, same job, and (hopefully!) same apartment in January 2019! It’s such a fun and interesting experience, and something that I will try to make  a career from. Since I’m getting older (26 now *cries*), I guess I should start thinking about long term plans. Yikes, adulthood!

About the teaching overseas; I’m thinking of starting up a separate blog to cover that. Could be quite interesting and fun! I’ll keep you posted on that.

Blog posts; I’m putting some together, so let’s see how they go! I will most likely be shaking up my review posts for something shorter and (hopefully!) sweeter.

But until you hear from me again, take care!

-S

An Update on My Life

Why, hello there internet. It’s been a while since I announced my temporary hiatus from blogging as I went to work, explore, and live in China. Since I’ve been back in Australia for a couple of weeks, I guess I should update you all!

Firstly, and rather wonderfully, I absolutely loved every second of my time in Jinan. The people were so friendly and kind; I felt welcome the day I arrived. The work was fun and interesting, and I found it fascinating to see firsthand the differences between Chinese and Australian schools. The students were all adorable and enthusiastic, no matter if they were three years old, or thirteen years old. All in all, I really liked the team I was working with, I really liked the city I was living in, and I absolutely loved the work I was doing… which brings me to my next point.

Since I loved everything about the experience so much, I decided to sign onto a year’s contract! But what does that exactly mean for this blog? I know I haven’t touched it for the past five months or so, but, despite all the adventures I’ve had (and my general busy-ness!), I have missed blogging. In my first apartment, my internet was very slow, so I avoided WordPress altogether, just because I knew that between the website and my VPN, I wouldn’t get very far with blogging. However, the internet in my second apartment is a lot better. So…

This means that I will hopefully be able to do some blogging while I’m away, but it’s likely to be very sporadic. I know I will get very busy during the school term, so I can’t make any promises, but I will try to churn out some posts.

I’ll leave you all with my best well wishes, and a couple of photos I’ve taken of the beautiful city of Jinan.

-S

A long, but temporary, hiatus

So, for those of you who didn’t see my earlier post, I am not actively blogging at the moment. Actually, I haven’t been actively blogging for the past few weeks, since I have been in Jinan, China since mid-March. The posts you’ve seen have been scheduled in advance, but don’t worry if you’ve commented on them, because I’ll get back to you eventually!

I will be away in China for anywhere between 3-6 months. During this time I will not have access to WordPress. However, I do plan to continue blogging on my return. Hopefully I’ll have some exciting stories to share with you all!

Until then, keep safe my pumpkins, and you’ll hear from me soon!

-S

bye-bye

Rewatching Harry Potter: Wrap Up and Has My Opinion Changed?

Finally, we’re through. All eight Harry Potter movies have been re-watched. As you probably remember, I rewatched the series after a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London prompted me to think my original opinions were too harsh. Although I’ve given my thoughts on each individual movie, I thought I’d wrap up the series by talking about it as a whole.

I was genuinely surprised at just how much I enjoyed the movies when watching them again. I honestly never liked the later movies, but this time I was entertained during each one. There are plenty of funny and emotional scenes throughout the whole series, and I found myself laughing in every movie.

I was also amazed that after all of this time, I still found it very, very easy to be sucked into the magical world of Harry Potter. I think this has everything to do with all of the effort that went into creating the movie series. I really do appreciate every little detail, and I think that this attention and care from the creators means that the series will last the test of time.

I still think that there are some serious plot problems in the later movies, and they start in Goblet of Fire. It’s here that we miss the explanation of Harry and Voldemort’s wand connection, and this lack of information starts a snowball of plot problems later on. I still think that Half-Blood Prince is the weakest in terms of the overall plot, and leaving out vital background information in this movie results in the two Deathly Hallows movie lacking a certain level of depth and meaning. I also wish quite a few scenes were done differently, the most significant being the final duel between Voldemort and Harry.

In conclusion, I’m really glad I rewatched these movies, as it gave me a greater appreciation for them after all of these years. They all have their moments where they are very enjoyable. However, at the same time, I will always wish for certain things to be different, and will continue to wonder how much more the movies could have been. I guess all I can say in the end is that the books are always better than the movies.

-S

Celebrating: Xiumin, Jackson, and Yongguk

Welcome to a new segment where I celebrate some of my favourite Korean celebrities, not in order of how much I love them, but in order of birthday. All ages are international ages. -S

xiuminsmile

Xiumin

First up for this post is Kim Min Seok, who uses the stage name Xiumin, the oldest member of the group EXO… not that he looks it. Every time I see Xiumin, I’m always surprised by just how baby-faced he is. I can’t help but wonder what he’s going to look like when he’s much, much older! He is rather undeniably cute. However, don’t let the cute face fool you, Xiumin is known for his impressive body and, ah… mature dancing. Actually, in his group, Xiumin is one of the lead dancers, and he’s been known to both sing and rap, although I always feel he’s underappreciated and underutilised. Fortunately, his sweet vocals have been recognised elsewhere, such as this duet with AOA’s Jimin, and in the EXO-CBX subgroup. Hopefully Xiumin will get more opportunity to show off his talents in the future! Happy 27th birthday on March 26th!

Jackson smile

Jackson

Next we turn our attention to GOT7’s rapper and all-round funny man Jackson Wang. Jackson is arguably one of the most well-known members of his groups because of his appearances on variety and talk shows. He has a very friendly, easy-to-get-along with personality, and he’s also naturally funny. I really love Jackson’s comedic timing and facial expressions, he’s such a fun guy to watch! His happy personality means he knows a lot of different celebrities in the Korean entertainment world, and he’s particularly close to other foreigners. Jackson was born in Hong Kong, and can speak several languages. He was actually on his way to becoming a talented sabre fencer, but ended up persuading his parents to let him pursue his dream. Now, he is a rapper (sort of!) and a talented dancer, known for his body and his flips. Happy 23rd birthday on March 28th!

Yongguk smile

Yongguk

Our last celebrity for today’s post is B.A.P’s Bang Yong Guk. Not only is Yongguk the leader and a rapper in the group, he has also played a role in writing and producing the group’s songs. In fact, Yongguk has been doing this right from the group’s debut. As the leader, Yongguk has led the group through some troubled times, but has overcome them successfully. As a rapper, Yongguk is known for his deep ‘cave voice‘, arguably the deepest rap in K-Pop. His career as a rapper is also longer than his career as an idol; he rapped underground before joining TS Entertainment, and has even done some featuring and solo work. On camera, Yongguk often comes across as quite and serious, but he is actually surprisingly cute and adorkable. He is also very kind, as evident by his long commitment to charities. I hope Yongguk continues to lead B.A.P in the future, and continues to grow as an artist! Happy 27th birthday on March 31st!