Day 26: A song by your favourite band

Well, questions like this always stump me. I don’t really have a favourite band. There’s a lot of bands that I love, but I don’t really consider any to be a favourite.

However, I have to post something, so having a look at what’s in my music library, the group whose music I have the most of is EXO. (Well actually, it’s “Various Artists”, but let’s not make this too difficult!). My favourite EXO song? It’s a bit of a hard choice, but I’m going to go with ‘Growl’. Plus, look at them dance moves!

Do you have a favourite band?

-S

Rewatching Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2

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I mentioned last time my thoughts on the seventh Harry Potter book, and how I thought The Deathly Hallows Part 1 was a good lead up to the ultimate conclusion. Now, as usual, my previous thoughts on the final movie aren’t too strong; the only thing I can really remember is that awkward Voldemort-Draco hug. So let’s see how I feel after my re-watch. Strap yourself in, this is going to be a long post.

Since the movie’s plot is pretty straightforward, I’ll go through each major event one by one. We shall start with the trio’s adventure into Gringotts to steal Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup… not that you know that’s what it is, because it’s actually not mentioned by name in the movie. Which I found particularly weird. However, I do like the sequence of events leading them into the vault, and the multiplying treasure scene is cool. I think the book version of the treasure burning them when it multiples is pretty terrifying, and it would have been difficult to achieve on screen in the short amount of time they have for it, so I can understand cutting it out. I really like the cuts of the scene with Voldemort going crazy after they’ve stolen the Horcrux, and I think the look of horror on the Malfoy family’s faces really hammers home just how dangerous he is.

The trio swiftly move to Hogwarts, or rather Hogsmeade, where they are helped by Dumbledore’s estranged brother, Aberforth. To be honest, the exchange between Aberforth and Harry just makes Aberforth look like a dick for criticising Dumbleore without reason. It also feels weirdly out of context, and doesn’t really achieve anything; we haven’t had enough of Harry doubting Dumbledore throughout the first part of the Deathly Hallows to warrant it. The weak explanation of the mirror shard is also pointless in this scene. However, I really like the trio getting into the Room of Requirement, and seeing all the students who are daring to stand up to the Death Eaters at Hogwarts. As the trio continue into their Horcrux Hunt, I think it would have been cool to see Harry go into Ravenclaw Tower, but I can understand the decision to have Luna direct him straight to the Grey Lady instead (oh hey, ghosts… it’s only been five movies since we last saw you!). I really love the scene where the trio return to the Room of Requirement trying to find the diadem; it’s so cool with all the props stacked up! I also like the sequence of events of Draco and his cronies attacking Harry, the Fiendfyre, and the escape from the flames.

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Run, Harry, Run!

We get the preparation and the start of the Battle of Hogwarts happening at the same time as the Horcrux hunt. McGonagall and Neville are just so, so awesome in these scenes; they really are the heroes here. I like the detail of the portraits evacuating from the frames, but I don’t understand why there doesn’t seem to be much of an evacuation of the school? We get everyone running around chaotically, but there’s no scene with McGonagall telling all underaged students to leave, and students of age to decide what they want to do. We also don’t really see many of the other Professors helping out, save for Slughorn and Flitwick. We see them later, but how cool would it be having Professor Sprout carrying some dangerous looking plants around in the background? Also, where is Hagrid in all of this? He comes in for Harry’s death but it’s sort of like… oh right, Hagrid… forgot about him. With that, I guess I can’t really grumble about Grawp being there either, right?

Despite some noticeable absences in the battle scene, I do think it was done incredibly well. In the short duels we see, there’s plenty of variety of magic going on, and a large variety of enemies our heroes have to face. I think the scene of Harry, Ron, and Hermione running through the battle to get to Voldemort and Snape is done very, very well, and is probably my favourite sequence of scenes in the movie.

Speaking of Snape… what a horrific death scene. It’s much more violent than in the books, but I think it’s done very well. I also like Harry’s uncertainty and hesitation when he approaches Snape bleeding to death on the floor; he’s the man that Harry hates, but he can’t just stand there and watch him die. Snape obviously gives Harry his memories, and I think the memories and the scenes from the previous movies were incorporated very, very well. In fact, Snape’s whole memory sequence was really well put together. Now, I’m going to point this out right from the start; I am in no way sympathetic towards Snape’s character; I don’t think the reveal of his history with Lily changes the fact that he is an absolute asshole throughout the series. So I’m a little disappointed that his memories pain him in such a good light; where’s Lily’s annoyance at Snape hanging out with the wrong crowd at school? Where’s Snape calling her a mudblood? I can see why people might be more sympathetic towards his character with these important memories cut out, because it’s not obvious that Snape turns to the Dark Arts of his own accord. His motive for betraying it for Lily’s sake only, is in my opinion, extremely selfish. The memories in this movie don’t hammer this home. I also think they could have utilised Snape’s memories more to reveal more about how manipulative Dumbledore is.

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Great casting for the kids!

All of this, of course, eventually leads to Harry’s death. I think it was handled pretty well, especially when the spirits of James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus appear. The actual confrontation between Voldemort and Harry was really good. There’s no point in complaining about Harry and Dumbledore talking in limbo since so much about Dumbledore was left out of the movies, so it wouldn’t make sense if they suddenly bought it all up. Also, that bloody Voldemort baby thing is so horrifically creepy.

And now, the final battle. Which, honestly, I really prefer the book version. I mean, Harry and Voldemort struggling against each other around the castle, and the Molly-Bellatrix duel is done pretty well, but imagine how much better it could be. Before Molly took her on, Bellatrix was duelling Ginny, Hermione, and Luna simultaneously, but then Molly takes her down without even flinching. It would have been awesome to see! I also wish we had at least the Centaurs (no point in mentioning the House Elves this late in the series) driving everyone into the Main Hall, where the final duel between Harry and Voldemort is witnessed. I can’t help but wonder what Harry did after defeating Voldemort in the movie… awkwardly walk into the battle and announce that Voldemort’s dead? In the book, Bellatrix had just died, Harry reveals himself to be alive, and then everyone watches in deathly silence as he gives Voldemort his last chance to redeem himself by showing remorse. When Voldemort laughs in Harry’s face, they both send their final spells and Voldemort dies, his body soon removed from sight. Having him just shatter in the movie sort of takes away the little humanity he has, don’t you think? While a physical body proves in the end that he is, indeed, just a man.

And finally, the ending scenes. I’m not too sure why Harry didn’t repair his old wand before snapping the Elder Wand in half, but I guess he has Draco’s now? Whatever. As for the epilogue, well I’ve never really liked it, and honestly Harry, do you really think Snape redeemed himself to name your son after him? But this is more an argument against the book than the movie. In the movie, the epilogue is handled well, and the final shot of our trio sending their kids off to Hogwarts on the platform is incredibly powerful and moving.

Overall, I really liked the fast pace of the final movie. A lot of the content and scenes are handled really, really well. I still think certain parts were misrepresented or poorly handled, and the concluding duel between Harry and Voldemort is not as epic as I hoped it would be. However, that hug is still as awkward as it was the first time I watched it. Yikes.

-S

thathugthough

*cringe*

Seiyuu Spotlight: JUN Fukuyama

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It’s time for our next Seiyuu Spotlight, and today’s post is all about Jun Fukuyama. Jun was born on November 11th, 1978, and first started working in the voice industry at the tender young age of twenty. Since then, his career has simply exploded. His voice is suitable for a variety of characters, as you will see in a second, and there is a good chance you will recognise at least one of them below. Jun’s tremendous effort and incredible ability has not gone unnoticed, and he has been winning voice acting awards consistently since 2006. Let’s dive in to the characters that Jun has bought to life.

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(Clockwise, from top left) Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass), Koro-sensei (Assassination Classroom), Lawrence (Spice and Wolf),  Yukio Okumura (Blue Exorcist)

We’ll start with the four big roles that Jun is most famous for voicing. The most obvious one, of course, is the calculating, intelligent, and complicated Lelouch Lamperouge from the Code Geass Series. I really love Lelouch’s character; the way he acts as a stoic but kind school boy in front of his friends, but the ruthless and cold Zero when trying to change the world. He’s certainly a difficult character to play, but Jun pulls it off without a problem! The next well-known character would probably be Koro-sensei from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom). Although I’m yet to see this series, I have been able to tell from others’ reviews that Koro-sensei is another difficult character to voice; although he’s very smart, he can switch from being crazy and jovial to serious in a second. Next, and moving onto characters that are more stable in their characterisations, is Ao No Exorcist’s (Blue Exorcist’s) Yukio Okumura. Resident worry-wart, Yukio is also one of the series’ more intelligent and calm characters, although he is shown at times to be on the manipulative side as well. Finally, and keeping with the serious and mature tone set by Yukio, is Kraft Lawrence from Spice and Wolf. Just like Yukio, Lawrence is calm and mature.

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(Clockwise, from top left): Liberta (Arcana Famiglia), Keeichi Shimizu (La Corda d’Oro), Hakuren Oak (07 Ghost), Hanabusa Aido (Vampire Knight).

With his most famous roles out of the way, let’s take a look at some of Jun’s other roles. We can see from his castings as Lelouch and Yukio that Jun isn’t a stranger to voicing good-looking young men, and many of his other roles reflect this. In Arcana Famiglia, he lends his voice to the energetic, caring, and childish Liberta. In La Corda d’Oro, it’s the quiet, sweet, drowsy Keiichi Shimizu. In 07 Ghost Jun voices Hakuren Oak, who’s proud, thoughtful, and diplomatic, but also a little bit arrogant. Finally, in Vampire Knight, it’s the charismatic, flirty Hanabusa Aido that Jun voices. That’s a bunch of good-looking guys, a whole lot of blondes, and some very different personalities!

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(TOP L-R)): Kimihiro Watanuki (xxxHOLIC), Alber de Morcerf (Gankutsuou). (BOTTOM L-R): Misaki Yata (K), Grell Sutcliff (Black Butler), Panda (Shirokuma Cafe)

Jun also seems to have a knack for covering loud and less-mature characters. For example, xxxHOLIC’s Kimihiro Watanuki starts off in the series as childish and loud, although he does show later character development. Albert de Morcerf, from Gankutsuou, is another character who is more on the rash side, naive side. However, these two are really nothing compared to Misaki Yata from the K series, and Grell Sutcliff from the Black Butler series. Both are quite loud and blunt, but Yata tends to be more brash and rude, while Grell is over-the-top and flamboyant. Jun also lends his voice to Panda from the Shirokuma (Polar Bear’s) Cafe series. In true teenager fashion, Panda is lazy and obnoxious.

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(TOP L-R): Souta Takanashi (Working!!), Ichimatsu (Osomatsu-kun). (BOTTOM L-R): Shinra Kishitani (Durarara!!), Zheng Ying (Kingdom), Cassim (Magi).

So far, Jun’s characters have been relatively kind and warm, but he also lends his voice to some more cold and aloof characters. These include characters such as Souta Takanashi from Working!!, Shinra Kishitani from Durarara!!, Ichimatsu from Osomatsu-kun, Zheng Ying from Kingdom, and Cassim from Magi. Although some of these characters may show warmth towards their friends, their initial impressions suggest that they are cold, serious, and often quite calculating.

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(L-R) Makoto Hanamiya (Kuroko No Basket), Rokuro Bundo (Deadman Wonderland).

Finally, although not too often, Jun occasionally lends his voice to the more unlikeable characters in the anime universe. These include the sadistic Makoto Hanamiya from the Kuroko No Basket series, and the sly Rokuro Bundo, from Deadman Wonderland. These two are a far cry from the kind and attractive men we were looking at not too long ago!

As you can see, Jun is clearly an important voice artist in the anime world, responsible for so many characters! I’m amazed at how well he changes his voice to suit each character, giving him the ability to voice a huge variety of personalities. Somehow, in what I’m sure is a very hectic schedule, Jun also does dubbing work, voices characters in video games, and is even a singer! He often sings OPs or EDs for the anime he’s working on, but he also has a solo career. I hope that Jun continues strong for many years to come, as his voice is one of the best in anime!

-S

Day 25: An acoustic song you love

An acoustic song I absolutely love is the most well-known song of Australian folk band Redgum; ‘A Walk in the Light Green’, also known as ‘I Was Only Nineteen’. The song was penned in the 1980s after John Schumann spoke to Vietnamese war veterans about their experiences. I really like this live version of the song, with the back up up of the violin and flute.

The lyrics are really simple but meaningful. There’s a reason this song is considered a classic in Australia!

-S

Day 24: A cover song

A cover song that I absolutely love is the collaboration between a cappella group Pentatonix and dub-step violinist Lindsey Stirling. The two powerhouses of the music side of Youtube teamed up to cover Imagine Dragon’s ‘Radioactive‘. They do the original song justice but still put their own unique spin on it. I absolutely love it!

I really like cover songs, so if you have a particular favourite, please share!

-S

Day 23: A song that makes you angry

Tonight Alive’s ‘Lonely Girl’ is a song that makes me angry. Well, perhaps not as extreme as angry, but certainly riled up. It reminds me of a difficult time with a (former) friend in the past, and how we came to stop talking to each other. I can really relate to the lyrics “I was on your side, I stood by you…”. The song actually came out at the same time as I was going through these issues, so it brings back many memories.

Now I don’t want you to get me wrong; I’m not bitterly stuck in the past. I’ve moved on and so have the other party. It’s just something that can’t be forgotten.

-S

Day 22: A song that would be the theme song to a TV show about your life

Well, this day is both interesting and challenging. When I think of theme songs I automatically think of Friends, but I feel like choosing that one would be cheating! I’m tempted to use The Lazy Song or Help!, but I’m going to have to go with Loituma’s ‘Ievan Polkka’. This is a Finnish song written over a polka tune.

Why this song? Because it’s a little weird, at times doesn’t make sense, and it might annoy you just that little bit. And yet that doesn’t matter because it’s interesting to listen to, fun, happy, up-beat, and, in my opinion at least, enjoyable. I like so much about all of that, and it’d certainly make for a unique theme song!

-S