"This isn't my world... I can't find a reason to live
in this city... If I ever become a magic user, I'll be a
completely different person from who I am now, And the
current 'me' will be completely gone." ~Ai, Dorohedoro
Ai is endlessly fascinating to me. He's a genius, but couldn't
seem to make anything of his life. He had a big dream, but
that dream wasn't born out of hope. It was driven by hatred
for the world, for himself, and even for what he would become.
Though he admired the magic users' powers, his feelings
towards them as a species were highly ambivalent and
expressly resentful. Both in and out of amnesia, his
greatest talent was slaughtering them; treating them as test
subjects not unlike how they used the people of Hole. And, as
a kind of poetic justice, his greatest weapon was the essence
of Hole: rain.
Yet, despite his body's progress and his colossal success in
the Magic User World, he knowingly walked a path towards
self-annihilation. The ultimate fulfillment of his wish would
simultaneously shatter what was left of his original identity.
I'd love to have hugged him and tell him he didn't need to do
any of this, but was already so dead inside I doubt it
would've made a difference.
It really makes me sad because, looking at Caiman or Aikawa,
you can tell what a wonderful person Ai would be if he wasn't
weighed down by his childhood.
The Japanese Dorohedoro volumes are some
of the most beautiful books I've seen! I don't think I've ever
been so in love with a publication before. *_* The printing
quality so much better than the Viz release! You see detail
more clearly and the lines are more crisp, but the real
difference is in the color pages. Things don't look dirty and
smudged, colors and details are very clean. The Japanese
volumes are printed on a smoother and brighter type of paper.
The first page with a picture and table of contents is slick
Like most Japanese manga, there is an
outer cover with flaps that sits over the inner cover that has
extra pictures on it. Though Viz keeps the whole outer cover,
including the cover flaps (which is more than I've seen other
publishers do), it doesn't reproduce the inner cover. Also,
the outer cover in the Japanese volumes is textured with
raised raised patterns (lizard scales, mushrooms, crosses,
etc.), which are really awesome to see and touch. Viz release
cover is flat and lifeless.
For an English
release, Viz actually did a great job with the first 3
Dorohedoro volumes. They kept the original (bigger than
average) size of the Japanese release, kept the cover flap
graphics, printed the color pages in color, and paid attention
to the translation, even including cultural notes and
translation details. I was happy, and figured I wouldn't need
to resort to getting the Japanese volumes. Ebisu's comical
speech impediment was gone, and even though I think it's
important to her character, I could deal with that.
Then, starting with
volume 4, Viz started printing the color pages in black and
white, and since Doro color pages have heavy shading (which
looks beautiful in color), it became very hard to see detail
and appreciate what's going on. English readers who didn't
know these were supposed to be in color started complaining
that the pages were too dark, and were blaming the author.
(Ugh.) Cultural and translation notes were gone, too.
But my biggest gripe
with volume 4+ of the Viz release is that the translation
quality dropped off dramatically. They were translating what
was said, but not what was meant. I can only assume that new
teams of people were getting different volumes or different
chapters, since at times it became very obvious that they had
no clue what was going on in the context of the plot - even
one chapter or one volume ago.
For example, there is
a character named Kikurage. She's named after a kind of
mushroom (Viz translation took the literal route and
translated the mushroom name into English - Judas's Ear -
which is accurate, but I think flows a lot worse than if they
just left it as Kikurage), and she has the power to resurrect
the dead. Yet, in the translation Viz put up online, a
character says "the mushrooms can resurrect him!" instead of
Judas's Ear. Thankfully this was fixed before it hit print,
but the fact that it occurred at all is most unsettling.
Then there is an
important line that Risu says to Ebisu which is inherently
vague in Japanese. In volume 4 Viz translated this as "You are
the one who stopped me." In volume 5, in a scene where
characters were still trying to figure out what the line
meant, it is translated as "interrupting me." The line can
mean various levels of inconvenience, anywhere from bothering
to interrupting to stopping, so the translation wasn't
inaccurate. But, by not keeping the translation consistent (or
at least making a note of the vagueness, since "stopped" in
English isn't very vague), English readers have no idea that
they're still talking about that line, and the point of the
scene is lost.
Viz also mistakes the sex of various
characters. This is a very easy mistake to make since the
Japanese often doesn't specify sex right away. However, this
guy (Fukuyama) wears a suit and probably doesn't talk like a
girl (females have different speech patterns in Japanese).
Furthermore, he explicitly uses the English word "Waiter," not
"Waitress," in the Japanese. Had they read a bit ahead, this
would've been made clear. I think it would be professional for
official translators to read what's out in Japanese in order
to not make stupid contextual mistakes, and for the same team
to work on the same series.
So SOO glad I ordered the
Japanese volumes. They're pretty expensive but worth every
penny. Plus they'll encourage me to learn more
kanji! Will still be collecting the Viz release too, for
Many of the names in Dorohedoro mean something (ex: "Dokuga"="Poisonous
Moth"), but I think "Ai"s names are the most fascinating since
they play on each other.
Some of his
names are written in kanji, some in katakana, but they all have
the sound "AI" in common: AI, kAI, AIkawa, cAIman, pAIman (the
English "PieMan" written in Japanese phonetic script). Ai,
the original self, is present as the root of all his
incarnations. In fact, "AI" is a homonym of "I," or essential
This connection is
also carried over to puns, such as the chapter title "Eye
Contact," in which Haze sees Kai for the first time in years.
The katakana script for "eye" phonetically spells out "AI" -
doubling as both "Eye Contact" and "Ai Contact."
The name Caiman, aside from being a species of reptile, can also
be thought of as Kai-Man. It was the Kai personality that
originally became Caiman (he has crosses on his eyes until he
remembered his other identity of Aikawa by visiting the Zagan
school and switched heads).
Aikawa name is probably the most interesting. It is written in
kanji, with the "ai" part as the symbol for the verb "to
meet; to encounter," and the "kawa"
part as the symbol for "river." As such, it can mean "to meet at
the river," specifically the drainage of toxic sludge that Ai dove
into in order to become what he is now.
But Ai-Kawa can also be interpreted phonetically. "Ai" would
represent the original Ai self, and "kawa" is the root of the verb
which means "to take the place of; to substitute for; to take over
for; to represent; to change places with; to switch," which is of
course what "Ai"s aspects do with each other, and the Aikawa
aspect in particular is the more PR representation that he uses to
infiltrate the common world.
meaning of "kawa(ru)" is "to change; to be transformed; to be
altered; to be different; to be uncommon; to be unusual." This
interpretation of the name tells of how Ai transformed himself
into a magic user (and then some), and also what a unique kind of
creature he became.
also has "AI" in her name is yet to be determined...
I also love how Ai
wears a magic 8 ball hat. He has 9 heads total, after all (2
of them ripped off), corresponding to the 9 bodies in the
sludge-filled crates. But Ai himself (the melted face) is the core
head, so he wears a hat symbolic of the other 8 - which surface
when you shake him, like answers in a magic 8 ball. :P
I really love
the Dorohedoro world! It feels so natural to me from the religious
I mean, look at
religious like Christianity, where everything is so starkly
divided between good and evil, and you're NEVER supposed to do
anything with the "evil" half... Devils, demons, etc are
utterly dangerous and unreasonable. Whereas, in Doro,
You got devils,
you got sorcerers, you got magic, and there's lots of danger
involved in all that, but it's approached the same way as any
other danger - like disease, crime, or accidents. Not strictly
black/white, not dangerous/safe... just a matter of what
you're doing, how good you are at it, etc. Nothing is taboo
and off limits - it's only limited by ability and experience.
That's how the universe works the way I understand it.
This also means that you don't HAVE to side with "God" and
avoid the "Devil" at all costs (or gods, devils, buddhas,
whatever). You just go with whoever you have a better, more
profitable, or more comfortable relationship with... whoever
gets you what you want, and whoever wants something from you.
The "devils" in Doro aren't really "evil." They just have a
different perspective on the world since they're much less
mortal and much more powerful than the sorcerers and humans
are. And there's no unfathomable line between humans,
sorcerers, and devils, either. A sorcerer can become a devil
through appropriate training, and a human can become a
sorcerer through scientific knowledge.
I'd live in this world. Shithole though it is, it's the only
series that really got me thinking how having true friends can
make any place bearable... even enjoyable.
come as a surprise to no one, but I've always been fascinated by
celestial bodies. Although the moon holds a special place of
reverence for me, the sun I have put more thought into from a
purely physical, spatial perspective. It has been worshipped by
countless cultures as the source of life, and indeed powers the
entire solar system. But what is the sun?
sun is a star. I often chastise others for quoting the mystical
saying "sun, moon, and stars" as redundant, yet I still
stupidly answer the question "what is the closest star to
Earth?" with "Alpha Centauri." So let me
reiterate... the sun IS a STAR... the local star, closest to
Earth... an average of 92.9 million miles away. It's surface
temperature is 9,932F... the core? 27,000,000F. Its mass is that
of 333,000 Earths, 750 times the mass of all the solar system's
planets combined, and its gravity strong enough to keep objects
3.7 billion miles away (Pluto) in its orbit. Massive as it is, it
regularly shoots gigantic
pillars of flame from its surface, and is known for
ejecting billions of tons of plasma into space. But what do all these
fancy numbers mean??
we all know, light is really @$%#ing fast. It can travel around
the Earth 7 times in a single second, but it takes 8 minutes (and
~20 seconds) for
light from the sun to reach Earth. Translation: the sun is really
@$%#ing far away!! And yet we still see it, an object 92.9 million
miles away, in the sky, clear as day (pun intended). Even with the
layers of clouds and thick atmosphere blocking off most of its
rays, we can't bear to look at it directly without suffering eye
damage. And what if you go higher? I've watched the sun set from
the tallest mountain in the world (Mauna Kea, measured from the
base) at well over 13,000 feet. It was above cloud level and the
air was very thin. And let me tell you... you think the sun is
bright normally??... you know NOTHING!! The sunlight up there is
surreal. Accidentally glancing the sun for a fraction of a second
will make you recoil as if lasers have seared into your retinas
and shot out the back of your head. >.< Mercury is the
closest planet to the sun. If you somehow managed to land on it,
your entire sky would be ON FIRE!! XD And nevermind that we can
see the sun, we can also FEEL its HEAT... from 92.9 million miles
mighty are stars! Go outside at night and you will see hundreds of
stars trillions of times farther still visible to the naked eye. They are living gods, sustainers of life, and yet they too are
born... and will one day die. Some go out in a spectacular
supernova, the force of which not only obliterates the immediate
planetary system, but strips the atmosphere off planets in
surrounding neighborhoods. Some implode into black holes, a
distortion in spacetime so absolute not even light can escape.
Still others gradually fade away... This is the setting for the movie Sunshine,
and unless you want to read complete SPOILERS
I would suggest stopping now. In the movie, the sun is dying and
Earth is frozen in a solar winter!
that's not entirely true. "The plot does not revolve around
the sun dying in the normal sense: this is not due for around five
billion years based on our understanding of nuclear fusion. It has
instead been 'infected' with a 'Q-ball' - a supersymmetric
nucleus, left over from the big bang - that is disrupting the
normal matter. This is a theoretical particle that scientists at
CERN are currently trying to confirm, and was one of the many
contributions of the science advisor. The film's bomb is meant to
blast the Q-ball to its constituent parts which will then
naturally decay, allowing the sun to return to normal."
Except none of that was ever explained in the movie. ^.^;;
a few years ago, a ship called
Icarus I was dispatched to detonate the bomb inside the sun and
trigger the re/birth of a new star, but the ship was mysteriously
lost. Now a second ship, the Icarus II, is sent with a bomb
consisting of Earth's last viable resources to complete that same
mission. The funny thing is, they actually expect to make it back
home alive. Needless to say, that doesn't happen.
start out with 8 crew members, a thriving oxygen garden, and a
functioning computer. Along the way their oxygen garden burns up.
They know they're going to suffocate, but at least they want to
live long enough to complete the mission. Problem: There is only
enough oxygen to potentially keep 4 (out of 8) crew members alive
long enough to complete the mission. No Problem: They soon lose 3,
a 4th kills himself, and there is now a crazed sunburned
psychopath killing the ones that are left (2 more down!). So far
so good, except that the psychopath also crashed the computers and
now the only way to complete the mission is to manually pilot the
bomb into the sun. Problem: The only guy that knows how to operate
the bomb is currently trapped in the airlock.
He puts on a spacesuit, ties himself to the ship, drills a
hole into the cabin, and opens the airlock into space so the vacuum can suck out the last remaining air
from the ship - thereby blasting off the door that was trapping
him. Now, in the giant clumsy spacesuit, he carefully makes it
over to the ship's computer and manually detaches the bomb. He has
a limited amount of time to actually get inside the bomb before it
jets into the sun, as he's hurrying to the bomb... he
trips and falls down. (Tripping in giant clumsy spacesuit = not
fun) Nevermind lack of oxygen, nevermind solar flames,
dysfunctional computer, entrapment, and crazed homicidal maniacs -
he made it through all that!! It is something as simple and silly
as tripping that can foil an epic mission and doom an entire solar
system. AARRGHH!! >.<
no, he fights the hopelessness and eventually gets back up. Except
now time is running out and there is no way to
get to the bomb besides a risky free-float across open space hoping he
can grab onto something if he manages to impact with the runaway
bomb. He does. Now he braves the spacetime distortion of the sun's
gravity and must manually activate the bomb as they are falling
into the sun. THE SUN. A @#%$ STAR!! An impossible, impassable,
most awe-inspiring frontier! "Landing" on (/getting
annihilated by) even the local sun blows visiting a distant planet
utterly out of the water! There are few cooler ways to die than
getting fried by a star. (Note to self: die in star in future
awesome still, is dying by manually piloting a bomb into the heart
of a star in order to save an entire solar system!! Even if
everyone was alive, the oxygen reserves were fine, and it was
pretty certain we'd make it back to our home planet intact... but
someone still had to stay behind and manually pilot the bomb, I
would volunteer in a heartbeat!! Hell, even if it didn't need to
be manually piloted, I'd insist!! To land on the surface of a god!
That is what he did. And he touched it... the new sun. *_* The
most beautiful death to ever grace the screen! The first/last man
on the old sun, the first man on the new sun. Saving a solar
system. What an incredible honor. I could probably retire from
reincarnation right there and then because it just doesn't get any
better than that! (Unless you're trying to reverse a supermassive
black hole from devouring your galaxy or something) And if someone
I knew got to do that, I'd be like "Dude, you're awesome, I
am so marrying you in our next lifetime."
mindset of self-sacrifice and complete surrender to a higher
purpose is an impressive force in its own right. Even if I knew I
was going to die, willingly determined to die to carry out a
mission, I would still probably be stuck in that airlock thinking
"I need to get to the computer! But I also need the ship's
air to stay alive and operate the computer! Then once I get inside
the bomb... THEN I am ready to die!! W00T!!" But no, not him.
He blew all the stops. Breathing, the air, it didn't matter
anymore. All semblance of caution and reason was discarded. He
simply acted without hesitation and by any means necessary. And it
how life works out. Researching his role for Sunshine turned Cillian
Murphy atheist from agnostic, yet it proved an intense source
of spiritual inspiration for me. The movie itself is meant to be a
conflict between science and religion. If it were to happen to us,
would we use our knowledge to try to save ourselves? The sun has
given humanity life, would they return the favor? Or would we see
it as the will of God and wait quietly to die?
I do not see
spirituality and science as in conflict at all, or indeed
separate. Atheism's primary conflict is not with spirit but with
monotheistic dogma. They believe humans created the gods, and for
all intents and purposes are gods. Humans should not
undermine their achievements, and have faith in themselves to
direct their own destinies. They should not rely on a "higher
power" to dictate ethics and accountability, nor blame that
"higher power" for their actions. On all these points, I
essentially agree... but that's another topic altogether.
character Cillian plays, the physicist Capa whose research created
the bomb, is supposed to be an atheist. All the nightmares he's
had of plummeting headlong into the sun are coming true. When he
surrenders himself to death he does not do so with my dreams of
glory, bragging rights for all eternity, and a treasured memory
across infinite lifetimes. As far as he's concerned, this is the
end and he will face it alone. It makes his self-sacrifice that
much more meaningful, more beautiful, and more spiritual to me.
many ways, this is how some gods were born in the olden days. In
many ways, Capa gave birth to the sun. It would be named after him
and his memory worshipped through it. An atheist giving birth to a
god, touching it, and becoming it. The world comes full circle. We
are all stardust. Just as the ship's psychologist spent his days
alone in the observation room staring at the sun, so to me
watching this movie alone in an empty theater is a religious
experience (I almost feel just as sunburned, too). It will probably
revolutionize how I view stars which, in my cosmology, are one of
three basic building blocks of the universe.
enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction
of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to
the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted
as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for tidbits, so
they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means
shortly before the Vogons arrived."
~The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, chapter 23~
to think of it, "Vogon" sounds a lot like
"Vegan"... except that Vogons came to demolish the Earth
to make way for an interstellar bypass... >_>;
sometimes wonder what my totem animal is for my Vegan journey. Is
it the chicken, the first animal to get me to go vegetarian all
those years ago? Once upon a time during a meditation, my mind
wandered to eating a full breast of chicken. But as I was
devouring the meat, the vision shifted and I realized that I am
digging into my stomach and eating my own intestines. Been off KFC
ever since. Is it the cow, whose prime rib and stringy cheeses
were the hardest for me to give up? A gentle animal sacred to the
Goddess whose reward for nourishing all our needs is to be shipped
off and slaughtered. Is it the the salmon, whose caviar I have lived
on for so long? Once a symbol of the indomitable wilderness, now
confined to overcrowded fish farms. If chickens made me
vegetarian, it is the destruction of the ocean that turned me
vegan. "So long (to a non-vegan lifestyle) and thanks for all
the fish" indeed.
was a very scary proposition. My favorite foods are caviar, pizza
(cheese), and steak. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat
anything tasty and fun again. But I had to face the fact that any
pleasure I derived from them was not worth the suffering they
caused - if not out of compassion, then for my own health.
Suffering is an emotion, and emotions are chemical reactions in
the body. When I eat somebody that has suffered, I am ingesting
their pain. It was in a meditation that I was suggested to become
vegan, and when I asked what I can do next, it told me to go and
eat a salad - right now. I have long avoided eating green leafy
plants because I love plants and have had some plants die on me. I
have become very sensitive to the smell of their "blood"
and could sense death in a room. The liquid in leafy plants
reminded me of that too much. But eat a salad I did, and it was...
bearable, after I added tomatoes and vegan mayonnaise. I would
soon learn, however, that vegan food is much more than salads.
many people in the Western world, I lived on a very routine diet
of grains, potatoes, eggs, fish, and lots and lots of cheese. I
never strayed far from these mundane foods, so when I became
vegan, it was like a whole vast world of flavors opened up to me!
I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything at all, I felt
like I gained so, so much! I couldn't believe I ever
thought it would be hard to go "all the way." Between
kiwis, quinoa, seitan, and sweet potatoes, I couldn't get enough!
And if ever I had a craving for meaty or cheesy foods, there were
always the veggie burgers, soy cheeses, chickenless nuggets, and
vegan margarine. I never liked cow's milk and only used it for
rituals, buy Silk soy milk I looove and drink quite avidly. I had
forgotten how good cereal with (soy) milk and banana is! My taste buds
were changing and flowering. I did not crave meat or dairy
anymore, and somebody dangling a slice of pizza in my face would
get no response.
of the biggest benefits in my own life was that I learned how to
cook. Even though 95% of a grocery store was useless to me now, I wasn't about to
give up on good food! I would own this lifestyle and have fun with
all, witches cook all the time in fairytales too - mostly
children, but that's besides the point. I was scared to try by
myself, however, so I got together with Ashvolt
and we made pizza crust, pizza sauce, fake cheese, cinnamon corn
muffins, and seitan without any eggs or dairy - all perfectly, and
all from scratch! And then we burned the rice. It was quite funny,
really, I got to run around with a fan blowing the smoke away from
the fire detectors.
aside from the rice fiasco, turns out cooking was a lot more fun
than I thought! I liked making my own dough, especially because
unlike standard dough that would have a raw egg mixed in, vegan
dough is completely safe, fool-proof and eatable! I love eating
dough. If making fake cheese is like alchemy, carefully stirring
in various doses of ingredients, making seitan is like a chemical
explosion, where a perfectly harmless powdered wheat gluten comes
to life, clumps together, and comes to resemble an elastic rubber!
Fascinating, fascinating stuff. The best part is that you have
full control and can make your food taste like anything you want!
I've since made French onion soup, pancakes, crepes, fake bacon,
fake cheese, many mish-mashes of soups and salads, and am still
experimenting. One thing I learned is that combining a whole bunch
of stuff you like on their own does not necessarily mean they will
taste good together! O.o;;
also looking a lot more at nutrition now, something I've always
avoided like the plague. It's really not that bad. I like to think
of it in Role Playing Game terms. The vitamins and minerals our
body needs can be thought of as statistics analogous to
constitution, dexterity, etc that you have to constantly
replenish. Foods can be thought of as items - like armor and
weapons and jewelry - that you wear to enhance your stats. Every
fruit, vegetable, nut, grain, legume, etc has a different base
stat, like 5D4, and you can pick and choose to min/max your
optimal performance. For example, 1 cup of cooked quinoa has as
much calcium as 1 quart of cow's milk. Foods that are fortified
with certain vitamins and minerals, like soy milk or nutritional
yeast, can be considered "enchanted." That is, they have
their base stat and then some: 5D4 +3!
for the social aspects of being Vegan, it is a great conversation
starter! I see it as an opportunity to educate others, and a way
to weed out those I'm not compatible with. I see everyone around
me paying more attention to and exploring new plant foods because
of my influence. It really feels like I'm making a difference in
my own life and it is spilling over into the lives of others. I
used to think that you need perfect tasting fake cheese or fake
meat to really swing people over (myself included), but after
tasting vegan food I know that's just not true. I might've come
for the ideology, but I stayed for the food! It's not cheese and
it's not meat, but it's wonderful in itself and oftentimes better.
Most importantly, I finally feel like I've found a way to express
my true self to the world and I can't imagine living any other
you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and
every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for
food." ~Genesis 1:29~
are the Christian God's instructions to humankind in the garden of
Eden. It was a time of innocence... before the knowledge of good
and evil, or the encroachment of death. Indeed, when we think of a
picnic in paradise, do we imagine freshly cut steak slathered in
blood or a cornucopia of luscious fruit?
I am not Christian, and do not see death as a punishment. It is a
natural consequence of life, and a release into new ways of being.
The thought of being stuck in one physical form for all eternity
terrifies me like few other things can. The food chain is sacred.
It has no top or bottom, and is instead a web that connects us to
all things. Life feeds on life, for in the end, we are all one. We
are all endowed with souls that shift and take on different bodies
- from grass, to cows, to stars - and death facilitates this
reincarnation. When I ate meat, I never saw it as separate from
the animal it came from. Always I would picture them clearly in my
mind and say, "I honor the animal that died so that I may
my perfect world, we would respect each other's freedom to live
autonomous lives. At times our paths would cross, whether for food
or friendship, but always with the knowledge that these other
entities are individuals with their own thoughts, their own
feelings, and their own interests. If we want to eat meat, we
would go into the wilderness and work for it just as a wolf does.
Ideally this would be a risky venture that promotes reverence for
our prey, not the sadistic "sports hunting" or, better
yet, "population control" because for some odd reason
all the natural predators are missing from the ecosystem.
we do keep tame animals close by, it would be for milk or eggs,
not meat. At first glance I would think it would be fine to have a
small farm, where the farm animals are treated as members of the
family like dogs and cats are. But is that still enslavement and
exploitation of other autonomous beings? Can we keep anyone who
does not come and does not stay with us of their own free will?
The keeping of livestock often results with contempt for and
hunting of wild predators. I would not stand for that.
such a world to be possible, there would need to be A LOT less
humans on this planet than there are now. 1/4th or even 1/8th of
the current population would have to remain.
There would be enough room for everyone and enough resources to go
around comfortably. When asked to rethink factory farming, people
exclaim "we can't do free range! how else are we expected to
feed all these people??" Few consider lessening the number of
this is because many humans believe themselves to be special. They
consider the ability to reason and make moral choices as uniquely
human qualities, and other species' lack of these qualities to
make those beings morally irrelevant. I do not agree with this
assessment of human superiority. Other species solve problems,
develop relationships, help each other, and make decisions just
fine in accordance with their concerns. But even if somebody does
believe humans to be unique in the animal kingdom, then that
uniqueness does not exempt them from responsibility, it obligates
them to make compassionate choices. "Look at a lion,"
they say, "he will brutally kill a gazelle for food!"
OK, 1) just because a lion does something, doesn't mean you should
and 2) a lion does not keep the gazelle in a cage for five years
and pump it full of drugs before he ties it to a mechanized
assembly line that slices its throat. A lion
is a perfect carnivore designed to kill quickly and efficiently.
Death is different from suffering.
When told about the harrowing conditions on factory farms, some
people rationalize it as "those animals were raised for
food" and honestly believe this is adequate justification. By
that logic, "those people were raised to be slaves"
would make slavery ok too. I disagree. Nobody is born to suffer,
they are chosen by popular demand. Those staggering numbers of
chickens would not be confined to tiny cages and scalded alive if
people didn't buy KFC any more than poor kids in Asia wouldn't be
spending their childhood in sweatshops if people didn't buy Nike.
it is the catastrophic overpopulation of humans that is creating
the twisted conditions of human and non-human suffering alike.
But... seeing as how population decrease is unlikely to happen
anytime soon, we have to confront the fact that today's means of
food production are unsustainable for both humans and the planet
as a whole. The fields of grain and tons of water going to feed
the millions of cows stuck on a factory farm that might eventually
feed some humans is highly inefficient. By phasing out the farming
of animals, that land and water could be put to better use for
growing food directly - and eliminate much soil and air pollution
that intensive farming creates.
the Earth's swelling population, a plant-based diet is the only
answer for humans, other animals, and the environment (until it
swells past plant-bearing capacity too). That is why even though I
don't think there's anything inherently wrong with eating meat,
dairy, or eggs, I choose not to due to the current state of the
world. And yet people just don't care, and keep wasting themselves
into oblivion. When asked why, they say it's because "meat
tastes good." Does that mean that if human babies tasted
good, we'd raise and eat them too? Might as well... pigs have the
mental capacity of a 3-year old human, and it might take care of
the overpopulation problem.
you suggest alternatives for medical animal testing, they reply
"you wouldn't say that if your mother had cancer." Hmm.
Maybe they're right. Maybe at that point my judgment would be so
clouded with selfishness that I'd start pulling people off the
street and doing experiments on them, too. That wouldn't make it
okay, and wouldn't change the fact that not a single one of the
rats and dogs and chimps rotting away in science labs gave a human
cancer. How anybody with good intentions could bring themselves to
willingly infect another living creature with a terminal disease
is beyond me. They have done nothing to deserve this and should
not be dragged into human problems without their consent. In case
you can't ascertain positive consent, rest assured that screaming
and trying to get away is universal for "NO!"
sometimes wonder if I think this way because I do not identify
myself as a human. Humans are just another species to me. I see
that they can think and feel like others can, and understand that
their experiences are no more valuable than anybody else's. If you
would not do it to a human, don't do it to a non-human. That is
will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them." ~Isaiah 11:6~
The pain of
this planet hurts me deeply on all levels. I feel it weigh down on
me every day. Sometimes I don't understand how the world can even
contain so much pain, how we can go about our daily lives
oblivious and numb to the suffering all around us... how does
reality not simply implode under the sheer mass of despair?
I sit typing this, there is a pig out there who will never know
the light of day, who will never run in a field, who will never
see her children grow up, and who will spend most of her days
crammed in a cage with other pigs where there is barely room to
turn around. Any contact she has with the outside
world would be with humans who treat her as a piece of economic
property, with no regard for her feelings or individuality. Pigs,
arguably the most intelligent animals outside of primates and
dolphins if measured by human standards. They have highly complex
mental, emotional, and social lives that instinctively yearn to
play and explore. Imagine yourself thrown into solitary
confinement in a dark dungeon and forgotten. No amount of
intelligence, creativity, or charisma would be able to save you
from your fate. No one would be there to appreciate your draining
sanity. Yet this is happening on a mass scale every day to
billions of pigs, cows, chickens, fish, the list goes on... and
their roar of collective suffering is deafening for me.
is there justice in a world where humans have the nerve to
complain about encroaching wildlife after moving into their
habitat, where they blame deer for hitting their cars, where they
worry about hunger before overpopulation, where they ridicule
human sacrifice and then send soldiers to die for their gods?
Humans have convinced themselves that they are special, separate
from nature, not even animals themselves! They find value only in their own species,
which is scary enough considering what they do to each other. Yes,
there are consequences for these actions as reality comes crashing
down through famine, disease, dwindling resources, climate change,
and natural "disasters," but "only when the last
tree is cut, only when the last river is polluted, only when the
last fish is caught, will they realize that you can't eat money."
have asked the universe how I am expected to live in a world
overrun with self-deluded apes where the only reason I haven't
been eaten, dissected, experimented upon, or turned into a coat is
because my physical body can pass for one of them. This is the
reply I received: "They are using their free will to shape
their world. Even though it seems terrible, without their right to
make that choice, the choice for harmony and compassion can not
exist. Do not worry about what others do with their free will.
Instead, use your own to become what you want to be. Take yourself
out of the system and it will lessen the pain. Change yourself and
you change the world. Live as an example and you will become a
flame that lights many others."
did this mean? I could not be part of the institution of suffering
anymore. But what did this mean? Only one thing popped
inside my head: "VEGAN." I have contemplated that
dreaded word for a long time, but never could I imagine truly
attempting it. I consider myself a struggling vegetarian. I don't
allow myself to eat meat besides fish except under these
conditions: (1) it's a "special occasion" - holidays,
birthdays, rare meetings, first times, Wii parties; (2) I'm on
vacation, meaning no access to normal food; (3) if meat is going
to waste, I'm morally obligated to eat it out of respect for the
animal; (4) it's 100% free range and organic, not from an
intensive factory farm where animals are confined and abused; and
lately (5) I really, really, really want to.
am not against eating meat in principle. I love meat! Humans have
evolved to be omnivores and I lean heavily to the carnivorous side
of the spectrum. For years I could not eat anything green - I
don't eat grass! I am also not against killing for survival, for
there is no difference between myself or a lion killing a gazelle.
I believe in a sacred balance between life and death, creation and
destruction, hunter and hunted. I believe these bonds of blood
teach us about our own mortality, make us appreciate the
interdependence of all life and instill respect for all living beings. In
this way we better understand our place in the universe's cycles.
I believe in the ancient ways of using every part of all things -
be they animal, plant, or mineral - and honoring their spirit. For
me to give up meat is like asking a lion to deny its nature.
It feels ridiculous, but give it up I must, because what humans
are doing to their cousins now is not natural or sacred anymore.
It is not the killing that's the problem, it is quality of life. I
know life in the wild isn't always happy, but just as happiness in
a free society isn't guaranteed (indeed, by virtue of its
freedom), you still have the inalienable right to the pursuit of
happiness. This is something an animal confined to a factory farm
sorely lacks. I would rather everyone go out and hunt/fish their
own wild food. There is much lost when a person does not see the
mortal sacrifice somebody else has to make for them to survive. I
like to think that this is the reason behind the twisted
conditions on factory farms today. Just apathy, just ignorance...
surely if reasonable people knew, felt, or understood, they would
rise up against it as much as they stood against human sweatshops
sometimes ask people what their favorite food is. Much of the
responses I get are very ordinary, most memorable of which have
been "mashed potatoes" and "rice." This makes
me want to strangle them. You see, my favorite food is caviar. And
not just any caviar - Caspian black caviar. This isn't
because I have expensive tastes, but because I grew up on the
shores of the Caspian sea in Azerbaijan where black caviar
practically grew on seaweed. That's about all the resources we
have in Azerbaijan: caviar, oil, and sand. Fast forward a few
years and I'm now living in the USA, where black caviar is
suddenly an exotic import and I can't afford it anymore. So I
learned to settle for the much cheaper red salmon caviar instead.
my naiveté, I had assumed that fish eggs are much like bird eggs:
the fish lays the eggs, and humans collect them. Not so. "Commercial
caviar production normally requires stunning the fish (usually by
clubbing at the head) and extracting the ovaries." *cue
Psycho music* Fish have always been something I considered safe to
eat. So long as I avoided fish from overcrowded, polluting fish
farms, it fit into my ideal of a fish living a natural life in the
oceans before playing its part in the food chain. But much like
everything else in the modern world, commercial fishing has
refined environmental devastation to an art form. Nets are dragged
across the ocean floor, sweeping up all in their path, and once
the edible fish species have been plucked from the draw, the rest
are killed and discarded. According to one statistic, if these
fishing trends continue, there will be no life left in the ocean
OCEAN! The frikkin OCEAN!! The source of all life! The source of
all water upon which life depends! Billions of years of
evolution down the drain! ...Plankton!... Does this bother anybody
else?? Do humans really think that extinguishing 71% of the
planet's surface won't affect them??
is safe anymore... not fish, not chickens, not cows, not humans.
We're all in this together. The one thing I, somebody who does not
think it is wrong to eat meat, had to come to terms with if my
goal is to end animal suffering and environmental exploitation...
is that simply boycotting meat doesn't do shit. Not even a little.
By continuing to eat eggs, cheese, milk, mayonnaise, sour cream,
butter, and all their derivatives (especially in the massive
quantities that I do), I am wholeheartedly supporting
institutionalized torture. It
is a sad fact of life that one person's joy often comes at the
price of another's pain, and one person's pain often allows for
another's joy. The pleasure I get from consuming meat and cheese
is not worth somebody's lifetime of suffering, and if the pain I
feel from denying myself these things can help even one other
creature, it will be worthwhile.
is where a vegan diet comes in. Plants are the rawest form of
energy available past water and sunlight. They are the primary
source from which all other nutrients are later derived.
Herbivores process the plants, and carnivores get those same
nutrients indirectly through the herbivores. By then, however, the
pure energy contained in plants is watered down. I'm talking out
of my ass here, but the point is plants are good for you, damnit!
Although I feel more kinship with carnivores, eating plants will
help me feel my link to deer, and bison, and rabbits.
where you ask "plants are alive too, don't you care about
their pain?" Yes, I do. I have profound respect for plants and their
capacity for emotion. But what kind of pain do they feel? They do
not have a central nervous system like animals which translates
sensations of physical pain. They have evolutionary adaptations to
avoid death and find sunlight, to search for water and express
hunger, but they have not developed a way to avoid physical pain
like the mobile animals have. Plants do not die if you pick their
fruit or eat their leaves. It is advantageous for them to spread
their seeds through ingestion by animals. Furthermore, when
talking about quality of life, it is a lot easier to keep a plant
happy than an animal. That is why I think it is safer to eat
is hard to live in a world where the spawn of factory farming is
ingrained in the vast majority of food, and tempting aromas taunt
you from every corner. Yet when I smell a rose, I can enjoy it
without becoming hungry. Perhaps it is a case of Pavlovian
conditioning, where I have simply associated the smell of steak
with food. Maybe next time I smell steak I should eat chocolate (I
hate chocolate) until hopefully I stop associating beef with tasty
things (or I start liking chocolate *shudder*). I can't
think of beef, chicken, or fish as food anymore. They are poison
for this planet... poison of the land, poison of the sky, poison
of the sea.
are legends in many cultures of heroes journeying to Underworlds
and Otherworlds. Be it the Celtic Faeryland or the Greek Hades,
those heroes are warned never to partake of the food or drink they
find there. They will be tempted with succulent feasts, they will
grow hungry, they might think it's not that big a deal, but if
they cave in and eat that world's food, they will forget who they
are and become trapped there. If I indiscriminately eat the food
of the Earth, I would be ingesting the suffering of this world. I
can't have that kind of poison inside me. Would it change who I
am? What kind of karma does it create? Would it bind me to this
planet for future lifetimes? No thanks.
became vegan because I am opposed to intensive factory farming,
not because I am against eating animal products. Where does that
leave so-called "free range" meat, eggs, and milk? Free
range is a term for farms that ideally allow the animals to roam
freely and partake in natural activities before being butchered.
Instead of withdrawing my consumer power from the system
altogether, would it not be wiser to financially support methods
that I agree with? But in practice the "free range"
definition is vague at best, and many times simply means that the
animals have a few extra inches of space or a window by their
cage. I guess the answer is that unless I can verify whether
conditions are acceptable, I can't eat it.
of meat leftovers that are being discarded, am I still morally
obligated to eat them out of respect for the animal? That's a
tough one. I'm going to go with "yes," but only for
meat, not milk or cheese. Eggs and caviar are a gray area since
they potentially could be actual animals. O.o What of products
somebody else already bought, so eating them will not be lending
financial support to factory farming? I'm going to go with
"no," because it would still result in me internalizing
have vowed to "never knowingly contributing to the suffering
of animals again" this past Imbolc (February 2nd). Ironic, as
Imbolc in part celebrates milk, but fitting, since Imbolc also
serves as a time of dedication and initiation. I have also eaten
the first overtly green things (lettuce, broccoli) in over 15
years, so I think I'm on the right track. There is a parable
presented in the movie "Little Buddha" about a priest
who sacrificed goats. One time a goat started laughing, so the
priest asked, "why are you laughing?" and the goat
replied, "I am laughing because in my next life I will be a
human." Then the goat started crying, so the priest asked,
"why are you crying?" and the goat replied, "I am
crying for you, because in your next life you will be a
goat." Perhaps there is justice in the world after all.
A celebration of male/male relationships - real and
imagined - in anime, manga, and games. The vast
majority of straight men avoid it like the plague,
which is a pity, because it is overrun almost entirely
by horny 18+ women. Some men have learned better, and
still others volunteer themselves for a wide variety
of gratuitous exploitation as they make out with each
other onstage to attract (mostly) female attention.
Yaoi Con... a convention like no other. I had always
been curious about it, but never actually made the
decision to get off my ass and fly all the way to San
Francisco... until now. Because now I
had a mission! I would be Vergil, and I would find a
Dante, and I would kiss him! Whether I could actually
find a male Dante cosplayer in a sea of girls was
another matter, but it really didn't make much of a
difference to me. Dante is Dante is Dante.
thing's first... the wig from March had to go. I
bought another one that was actually spiky and slicked
back-ish. Definitely a lot more Vergil-like, but alas
it was also more blond than white. GRR! Also, it stuck
up about an inch higher than I needed it to... so...
Vergil got another haircut! >^.^< Afterwards, I
packed my things and - Dante action figure in hand -
flew to San Francisco for the convention.
I stayed in a hotel room with my friend Ashvolt,
her mom, and their three ball-jointed dolls. The next
day we all went to the Opening Ceremony of the
convention. It seemed standard enough. That is, until
they brought out a near life-size Devil May Cry 3 standup
of Dante - signed by Reuben Langdon (Dante's voice
actor) and Dan Southworth (Vergil's voice actor)... I
would've taken a picture of it, but I had a hard
enough time remembering to breathe. It took me quite a
while to recover and stop blushing. O.o;; It was then
announced that if you pre-register for Tales of Anime
convention, your name will be put into a raffle to win
the signed stand-up. Now, I've been tossing around
the idea of going to Tales of Anime convention anyway
because Reuben and Dan were going to be there, and
this raffle pretty much sealed the deal for me.
of the key events (Anime Music Video Contest, Cosplay Show,
Bishounen Auction) were taking place on Saturday, and
it attracted the most people, so I decided to wear my
Vergil costume that day.
This made quite a number of girls very happy and I got
some great hugs. Apparently, Itachis really like
Vergil. Make of that what you will. It's always
encouraging to hear that people
like my costume considering how much work I put into
even got spirited away by a few photographers so I
could pose and stuff. I was shocked that I was the
only Vergil at Yaoi con.
I finally made it to the Dealers
Room, I was
immediately assaulted by people peddling Devil May Cry
merchandise - not that I'm complaining! *___* But,
dressed as Vergil that I was, everyone was throwing
Vergil stuff in my face, and I was like, "No, no,
no! I like Dante more!! That's why I'm dressed as
Vergil! To look for a Dante. ^_^;;" Makes perfect sense to me...
>_> One girl told me she actually saw a guy
dressed as Dante, but he was the only Dante here. So I
grinned and told her, "well then, it must be
I spent an ungodly amount of money on many gorgeous,
overpriced things. I never buy art prints, but Angel's
art was so breathtaking it melted any vestiges of
common sense I had left and I blew over $100 on it. At one point, as I was digging
through some artwork, Ashvolt told me that she saw
Dante. He was passing behind me. I froze and refused
to turn around, even told her that I am consciously
refusing to turn around. My reactions to seeing Dantes
have amplified since Anime Detour and I just was not
ready for him right then. I wanted to escape into a
word of pretty pictures and not think about my mission
to kiss a real life stranger. After the threat was
gone, I asked her if he had the white hair. She said
he didn't. Hmm. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't
even consider kissing a Dante who didn't have the white
hair. But... since he was the only Dante here... I
guess I had no choice.
pre-registered for Tales of Anime, and posed by the
lovely, sizzling, drool-worthy Devil May Cry 3
next stop was the What A Gamer Girl Wants panel, where
we got to discuss what yaoi fangirls want out of a
video game. Lets see... hot guys, sexy clothing, good
voice actors, multi-purpose weapons, suggestive
dialogue, tragic pasts, lots of action, male
characters obsessed with each other, female characters
that don't end up with the hero. Gee, I think I
already have this game, and it's called Devil May Cry.
to the AMV Contest. Or, rather, the line for the AMV
Contest. As we stood waiting to get into the
auditorium, that same Dante (now dressed as another
character) came over to me and said, "That's a
great Vergil costume! You'll see me as Dante later," to which I smiled and replied, "I
look forward to that!"
We were all given a ballot with a
list of videos from four categories. Then the lights
went dark and the show began, and there I was, trying
to remember what the four categories were. You got
Drama, Action, Comedy, and... uhh... what else is
there? Horror?? Lights back on. Oh, Romance! Duh, this
is Yaoi con. Shows you how my mind works.
Anyway, there was one video that stood out from the
rest. A music video with footage from the movie Final
Fantasy VII: Advent Children and the game Dirge of
Cerberus blended together, called Nine
Spiral. Truly the best action
video I have ever seen and perhaps the only sense of
orgasmic bliss I could have outside of Dante, my
own world, and maybe Wolverine's claws.
that was the Cosplay show. It was a lot of fun. There
was even a guy dressed as Kratos from God of War
calling his act "Ghost of Sparda" for some
reason. Maybe because "sparda" means sword?
But that's in Spanish and Kratos is Greek... and
doesn't use swords. *scratches head* Well, whatever.
2.5: The Bishounen Auction
At most conventions, the Cosplay show is the highlight
of the weekend, but at Yaoi con, this honor goes to
the Bishounen Auction. The Bishounen Auction is where
the afore-mentioned male volunteers strut their stuff
onstage for people to bid on. To entice higher bids,
they will strip - often down to their underwear -
and/or engage in racy antics with other guys. The
highest bidder gets the guy for the duration of the
Dance that follows the auction, and the proceeds go to
I have heard stories of a particular Dante skit a few
years back. There are three Devil May Cry games to
date, and with each game, Dante's outfits get
skimpier. So this guy dressed in Dante's costumes from
Devil May Cry 1, 2, and 3, all on top of each other.
When he was performing on stage, he would dance around
as DMC1 Dante, strip that layer off and dance around
as DMC2 Dante, strip that layer off and dance around
as DMC3 Dante. Wow! I am not ashamed to admit that the
thought of such a DMC striptease has dominated my
Dante fantasies ever since.
there we were, in line for the Bishounen Auction. The
line was three floors long and we were waaay in the
back. Indeed, there were considerable doubts of us
even getting in. Ashvolt and her mother were already
talking about how fun the Cosplay show was, how the
Cosplay show was their favorite part of the convention
anyway, that at least we got to see the Cosplay show,
etc, etc. I stared at them on the verge of panic. I
have a pretty one track mind and I came here for one
thing: to see Dante strip. And one way or another, I
WOULD SEE DANTE STRIP!!
was about this time that guy (now dressed as DMC3
Dante, still no white wig) passed by our line along
with the other guys up for auction. He waved at me. I
waved back. I turned to Ashvolt giddily and squealed,
"Dante waved at me!!" She then took it upon
herself to inform me that he was pretty much Yaoi
con's official Dante, that he was Dante every year, and
that he was the one who did that famous striptease a
few years back. Holee Shiiiat!! White wig or not, this
man now had my wholehearted respect. Hell, kissing him
would be an honor!
line started to move. They had to bring in some extra
chairs, and some people had to stand along the walls,
but miraculously everybody got into the auditorium.
The guys took turns getting up on stage, stripping,
dancing, and doing whatever they had to do to get
bids. Those in the audience who didn't bid could still
come up on stage and show their appreciation by
tipping the guys with money. Some even got kissed for
I watched the guys come and go, and waves of dollar
wielding fangirls cram more money down their pants, my
predicament slowly dawned upon me. This was Yaoi con.
Dante and Vergil are a very popular yaoi pairing. I
was the only Vergil at Yaoi con, and the only Dante at
Yaoi con was coming onstage very soon. If I did not
make some kind of move on him, it would be downright
embarrassing. For the sake of fan service, I had to go
up there. I reached for a
loose dollar in my pocket and crumpled it inside my
fist. My other hand shakily went for my bottle of
water, which I would be gulping down compulsively for
the next few minutes. Yes, had to go up there!
Nay, morally obligated to go up there!
it was Dante's turn. I could barely concentrate on his
little show and tell skit (sadly, not a striptease),
and trying to take a picture of him from that far away
in terribly dim lighting was like trying to catch
teeth were chattering and I was crushing the money in hand
into an even tighter fist. I was at the very back of
the room and it felt like a long way to the stage. If
you don't have the guts to go up there and give Dante
a dollar, you do not deserve to be Vergil,
I kept telling myself. I waited and waited for the
tipping to begin. I did not want to be the first one
up there. It felt like forever and I was afraid that
the auction might be over before I had a chance to do
anything. Maybe I should just go up there on my
own... No, no... Yes!! Finally somebody up there! I
can make my move!
handed my camera to Ashvolt's mom and asked that she
try to take a picture of me onstage, then I stood up.
started walking towards the stage.
walking... keep walking... keep walking... just KEEP
WALKING... you'll look ridiculous if you back down now!
Don't think, just get up there!!
was onstage now, but I was behind them, and they were
facing the audience.
hand with the money sprung up of its own accord and
brought the dollar to Dante's eye level. He turned to
smiled and said, "Here."
took one look at the dollar, then spread his arms and
presented his pants.
I had never put money down a strange guy's pants
before, and frankly never imagined myself in a
situation where I would have to do that. But this was
Dante, and I was Vergil, and that dollar had to go
somewhere! Well, if you insist... I thought to
myself, and stuffed it into his belt.
mom got the money shot (pun intended) on camera. Dante
looks rather pleased with the whole situation.
that was out of the way! But giving him a dollar was
only my excuse to come onstage. My real motivation
was to actually kiss him. I was pretty blunt about it.
Just straight up asked him, "can I kiss
you?" It was a rather clumsy kiss, and kind of
slid into more of a hug (and I'm kind of still beating
myself up over that) BUT DAMNIT I DID KISS HIM, ONSTAGE, WITH ALL OF YAOI CON WATCHING and it felt
skipped off stage and gulped down some more water,
grinning inanely. The euphoria of the adrenaline rush from the
whole episode stuck around for several minutes. *_* I
got what I came here for and more! Kissed the amazing
stripping Dante, onstage, in front of Yaoi con!! XD
My only regret was that we couldn't get a shot of the
actual kiss. Then again, I already had a picture of me
kissing Dante, but I didn't have a picture of me
stuffing money down Dante's pants... and now I do!!
wow... My first convention I got to kiss Dante in a
secluded hallway, my second convention I got to kiss
Dante onstage... in order to outdo that at my third
convention, I'd have to kiss none other than Reuben
Langdon himself... O.o;; Now there's a thought.
some more shopping. Ok, a lot more shopping. I wore my
Devil May Cry 3 T-shirt and took along my Dante action
figure. I was pleasantly surprised by how much
attention the action figure alone attracted. I think
my Dante figure got more hugs than I did as Vergil.
o.o Saw two people dressed up as Dante
and Vergil... Aligheri. Yes, the medieval Italian
Dante of Dante's Inferno upon which the names and some
of the mythology of Devil May Cry were based. Very
clever idea, but also very frustrating. People would
be like "hey look! it's Dante and Vergil!"
and others would be like "WHERE?!?.... oh."
went to the Closing Ceremonies to see if I won the
raffle for the Devil May Cry 3 stand-up. I prayed and
begged the powers that be for that stand-up. I had a
very good chance of winning it, too, because very few
people pre-registered. But still, I didn't. In fact,
it was unclear who actually did win. This pissed me
off and traumatized me more than I had anticipated. I
stayed in my seat for 5 minutes, dazed. I
stood up, went to the back of the room, and stood there staring at the stand-up for
another 5 minutes.
Then I left. And, y'know, I cried a little inside, but
I told myself that when I go to Tales of Anime, I'll
just have Reuben sign things in person - with my name
on it. ^_^
the evening, Ashvolt and I decided to lay out all the things we
bought on the trip so we could better assess the
monetary damages. It was quite a
sight. My half of the
bed is everything I got, and the black blob's half of
the bed is everything Ashvolt got.
got paid on Friday, and by Monday it was all gone.
^_^;; BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!! So, so worth it.
anybody involved doesn't want the pics or the entry up here,
please contact me and I will take it down!!
I love going
all out over the things I enjoy. I love to immerse myself
completely in a subject, let it consume me, and honor it for its
ability to give me such an intense natural high. I do this through
art, writing, music videos, games, conventions, buying
memorabilia, and torturing my friends with one-track
conversations. It takes a lot of energy but gives back in kind,
making life more interesting, more colorful, and creating
subconscious energy reserves I could later tap when I need them.
brings us to Wolverine. I grew up watching the X-men cartoons
(where I focused on Gambit). I have known about him for years and
years! I have watched the first two X-men movies many times over,
reluctantly enjoying Wolverine's berserker rage. Sure, in the
movies, Wolverine was pretty cool - and not bad
But always I reminded myself that in the comics he is still an
ugly, hairy, muscular, stocky little man in yellow spandex. The
very antithesis of everything I go for in a focus.
1: "I like Wolverine's
somehow, for reasons even I can't pinpoint, this all changed after
I saw X-men 3
(7 times and counting). Perhaps it was his
breathtaking showdown with the Phoenix, perhaps he got beat up a
little more than usual... all I know is that after X3, something
inside of me snapped and I couldn't get enough of him! This got
amplified ten times over once it hit me exactly how his claws
2: "I love Wolverine's Claws!!"
knew it hurt when the claws come out, but I figured they retracted
right into his hand and only broke the skin when unsheathed - so
what? But then I got to thinking... the claws are longer than his
hand, so if they retract only into his knuckles, they would extend
into his arm and make him unable to bend his wrist. At first I
wrote it off as a comic book oversight, but when I went to
research it further, I realized this was not the case! The claws
are actually stored in his forearm, which means that every time
they come out, they have to rend through the entire length of his
hand before breaking the skin. OWCH!
3: "I WANT WOLVERINE'S CLAWS!!!"
Wolverine's claws were the sexiest thing in the world (besides
Dante)! I would get orgasmic butterflies in my stomach every time
the movies zeroed in on a close-up of the blades passing under his
skin. The discipline, the pain tolerance, it was beautiful! I
relished explaining to my friends every agonizing detail of the
claws' anatomy with sadistic glee. I couldn't even tell if I liked
Wolverine or his claws more, but I knew one thing for certain - I
wanted them! I wanted them so badly it hurt. I could sometimes
feel phantom blades in my arms yearning to be set free! I
constructed makeshift claws from shiny, pointy, metallic
letter-openers, put them between my fingers and slashed around
with them. Though I can't stand surgery, and probably wouldn't have it to
save my life, I would have surgery to implant Wolverine's
claws!! It would be worth it... so, so worth it... ;_;
always liked X-men, but never got around to the comics, so I'm
happy to say that I am currently reading all that and enjoying
every second of it! The movies and cartoons barely scratched the
surface of the hell Wolverine went through in his life. I greatly
admire the fact that even though he has been memory wiped,
brainwashed, experimented upon, abused, horrifically tortured, and
then some, he always finds a way to come back to himself. More
remarkably still, he appears to have transcended the need to
define himself based on his memories and remains a
fundamentally decent, honorable person (with understandable anger
management issues) who seeks to protect the few he cares about. I
also greatly enjoy his numerous links to Japan.
have said that I have the amazing ability to like a character
not for who they are, but for who I want them to be. The
way I see it, Wolverine isn't about the yellow tights, the hairy
muscles, smoking cigars, or saying "bub." His essence is his claws, his powers, his attitude, his angst...
and so long as I hone in on that, I can superimpose
onto him and be happy. I still stand by that statement, and you will
always see him looking close to that in my fan art, but I am also
starting to appreciate his various comic book incarnations and I
have to say I'm very proud of that. Proves to me once again that
when all is said and done, I go for personality (though the
gallons of blood help immensely). I'm very curious to see how
far this obsession will take me.
OK, so I'm (still) obsessed
with Dante, if that's news to anyone...
I've been playing video
games and watching anime for most of my life, but somehow I never
quite made it to an anime convention. Finally I decided to go to Anime
Detour 2006. At first I figured I'd go in my Devil
May Cry 3 T-shirt, but two weeks before the convention
I had this radical idea to make a Vergil costume. Now, the obvious
question here is... if I love Dante, why would I dress up as
Vergil? Two reasons: 1) I truly do love his coat, it's probably my
favorite outfit in all of anime/games, and 2) I wanted to find a Dante, and kiss him... as
his twin brother Vergil.
So I went to a store and
bought 6 feet of blue, orange, and yellow material. Then I
realized it wouldn't be enough and the orange was the wrong color so
I went back the next day and got 9 more feet of blue, orange, and
yellow material plus foam, buttons, and white fabric paint.
Anyway, $200 later I had (much more than) enough materials to do
my Vergil coat!! It took some pretty complicated mental acrobatics
to design because Vergil's coat HAS NO SEAMS besides the yellow
stripes and at his shoulders. I worked on it 6-14 hours a day on top of a full
time job, getting 2-4 hours of sleep most of the nights and
stabbing my sore fingers to blood with needles while hand-sewing
the entire thing through material that bent a sewing
machine needle. After much frustration and trial and error I got
it done the night before the convention!
Sure the wig was a
disaster, but you should've seen it before I gave it a
haircut and glued it down with gel! Lets just say I was Vergil
in the rain after a bad perm, shall we? Good...
Off to the convention!! I
drove around the parking lot for at least 15 minutes trying to
find a spot. Saw another Vergil walking around, screamed
"DAMN YOU, VERGIL!!" in my car just because he was
another Vergil and he looked decent. He later stuck his tongue
out at me. (Vergil and I had a nice in-depth discussion
about making our coats later on... we cool) Went inside, got my
little blue nametag that I wrote "Vergil" on. Now to
find some Dantes!
Ahh... the hazards of being
Vergil. Girls jumping me from behind, people taking pictures. Fun
fun. And then I saw him. Hands down The best Dante at the
convention. Nay, the best Dante I had ever seen... period! DMC3 Dante!
Nipplewarmer trenchcoat Dante! And all I could say to
him was "...c-can I take your picture?" And I did.
Luckily, my friend Ashvolt
had a merchant booth set up a few feet away and
offered to take pictures of us together. And Dante was like
"lets have a back to back shot!" And we did. And here's
me looking confused and terrified because I had no idea how in the
world I would go about asking him to do a... errm... frontal shot.
So I chickened out and
Dante went on his merry way followed by throngs of fangirls, and
Ashvolt and I went on our own way with my head in utter
chaos. There were too many pretty people around me, too much anime
merchandice wherever I turned, too much nifty Japanese food, and
all I could think about was how that was definitely the best Dante at
the convention, how a chance this perfect would never come
again, and how my elaborate plan, my sleepless nights,
and my bloody fingers have all been in vain because
I didn't have the guts to approach him. The room was spinning
around me and I couldn't take it anymore!
"Okay," I said to
Ashvolt, "Here's the plan... Next time we see Dante, you
come up to him and say you like yaoi (if you don't know
what that is, I dare you to image google it), and since he's Dante
and I'm conveniently Vergil, you want a picture of
She was more than happy to
"A-and I'm not saying
this is going to happen... just if we happen to see him,
y'know? We won't go looking for him or anything..."
She raised an eyebrow.
So we keep wandering around
and lo and behold there he was again. It was a secluded corridor,
the lighting was just right, there were very few people around, it
couldn't be more perfect! I sighed, did a 180 degree turn and
started walking the other way. Ashvolt grabbed me by my arm and
literally dragged me back. Before I knew it we were face to face
with Dante and she started her speech.
"Hi... we have sort of
a weird request for you..."
"See, I'm a yaoi fan
and... seeing as how you're Dante... and my friend here is
Vergil... I was wondering if..."
Dante didn't get it.
"I mean... you're Dante...
and she's Vergil... so..... *suggestive hand motions*"
I don't think Dante wanted
to get it.
she stammered because half-naked DMC3 Dante in the nipplewarmer
outfit was PRETTY DAMN INTIMIDATING.
By now Dante was
staring at us like we're crazy - which we were, but that's besides
I couldn't handle the awkward
tension and blurted out: "I think she wants me to kiss
Dante paused, then pointed
to the side and said, "You gotta ask her."
$%#&!! Well, I guess that's one way to find out someone's
taken... In all our excitement we failed to notice his girlfriend
standing nearby. Nevertheless, hoping against hope, we turned pleadingly to
ask her permission.
She seemed rightly
flabbergasted at first, but finally said, "Ugh, I can't
believe how I put up with crazy fangirls at conventions... fine...
fine you can kiss him."
anybody has been keeping track of my Top
10 Anime/Manga Guys List, Hiei and Kurama have been tied at #3
for a very long time. They used to have their own spots on the
list, back in the glorious days of the neatly designated "Top
5" Immortals, but I loved them both so much for such
complementary reasons that I could never really decide what order
to put them in. So I tied them, because they truly are by far my
favorite couple in all of anime and it's sometimes hard for me to
see them as different characters.
with Ichigo joining the ranks at #0, it was becoming evident that
trying to fit 12 characters on a Top 10 List was cheap and wrong!
Now that I had a Favorite
Pairings List up with Kurama x Hiei at #1, them being tied in
the Top 10 List as well was redundant. Besides, I love Hiei and he
deserves his own rank on the list and not to merely cling
to Kurama's coattails. Now the question was: who could I possibly
drop to make room for Hiei?
and Lucifer were certainly not going anywhere anytime soon and
Urahara was a solid favorite. This left me with: (1) Taikoubou,
whose role of benevolent-trickster-who-reminds-me-of-myself
Urahara had pretty much taken over and was far better at, (2)
Sasuke, whose only flaw was his indefinite absence from his show,
and (3) Manji, who was safely stuck at #10 and had slept through
all the recent upheavals in the list until now.
loved all of them and it was tearing me up trying to decide
between them, but then I had a brilliant idea. This whole mess was
Hiei's fault, so why not have him pick who to drop and absolve
myself of all responsibility?
Hiei, it's your present, so cut down the one that annoys you the
most. Hiei: *smug grin*
story short, he picked Taikoubou. Poor Taikoubou... got dropped
for no apparent reason. I'm sorry, Taikoubou. You know I love you.
first and only attempt at fanfiction, it is a combination of
Missions 7 and 13 from the game Devil
May Cry 3. Although my reasons for writing this are of a
personal nature, suffice to say it was meant to vividly explore
feelings of vulnerability, loss of control, powerlessness, pain,
transience, death, and subsequent rebirth.
awoke on the cold, etched floor of a castle chamber dimly lit by
stained glass mosaics. He groggily raised himself on his arms and
grasped the sword that lay by his side. He stood up, flipped back
his trenchcoat to check for his guns, and carefully surveyed his
surroundings. The room was a closed circle – no windows saw
outside of it, no doors led out of it, and its borders were
obscured in darkness.
melted out of the shadows like an icy reflection of Dante himself.
No words needed uttering. His stance was resolute, his gaze
merciless, his lunge towards his brother a blur of blue, white,
and shimmering steel that collided with Dante’s blade in a
flurry of sparks. The devil hunter slid back from the impact, but
held fast, not giving Vergil any inkling of weakness. Yet he knew
the strength and skill of his twin, and knew better the ruthless
ambition of his character. Vergil broke off and unleashed a
blitzkrieg of katana slashes which Dante deftly avoided through a
martial ballet of dodges, parries, leaps, and rolls of superhuman
agility across their compact arena.
he was, Vergil’s attacks were relentless and seemed to come
faster and bolder still. Dante could not tell if he was growing
weaker or Vergil growing stronger, but his breath came harder and
his heart was drumming in his ears. It was only a matter of time
before a misstep allowed Vergil’s katana to slice across his
abdomen. Dante reflexively turned around to cradle his wound,
giving his brother an easy opportunity to land a second blow to
his back, as well. Dante stumbled forward and stopped his fall by
leaning on his sword. He glanced around, panting heavily as he
felt hot blood from stinging wounds trickle down his back and
stomach. Vergil was moving much too fast, dashing and teleporting
from all sides. In the blink of an eye the blue phantom
disappeared, coming in directly behind Dante with nothing but a
slight breeze to signify his presence.
thoughts flooded Dante’s mind in the smallest fraction of a
second it took him to realize his predicament, yet he knew there
was nothing he could do. He sensed the air rush out of his lungs
as Vergil’s cold blade stabbed between his shoulders and burst
out from his chest. Dante gaped down blankly at the bloodstained
edge protruding from his torso. The momentary shock was still too
great for his brain to register.
lithe, so dexterous, so clinging to life,” Vergil spoke, “Yet
even you are bound to this mortal slab of flesh.” He twisted his
blade deeper into his victim’s chest to drive the point home.
Dante’s vision blurred as the searing pain finally exploded all
through his body. He remembered to breathe, though it came in
shallow, aching gasps garbled with blood. He could hear his heart
ringing in his ears, although its beats were now sporadic and
getting alarmingly weaker… weaker….. weaker….....
weaker………… until his knees gave way and buckled under the
increasing heaviness of his own weight, his fist unclenched, and
his sword clanged to the floor. The splatters of blood gushing
from his wound were already forming a reflective pool at his feet.
drew his brother’s limp body closer along his katana and pulled
his head back by the pristine strands of silver hair. “You are
not worthy to be my opponent,” he whispered in Dante’s ear as
he slipped their mother’s amulet off his twin’s neck, “There
can only be one heir to Sparda’s power.” He let Dante slide
off his blade and crumple onto the ground, sheathing his katana in
one quick, measured gesture.
voice was little more than a distant echo to him now. He did not
know if his brother had gone or not. He no longer had control over
his limbs or his senses. Life was leaking out of his body, leaving
behind a shell that refused to function. The only concern left in
his fading consciousness was the thought of dying, drowning in his
own blood as darkness enveloped him……. For an indeterminable
amount of time in the dark he waited unawares, until the faint
flame of his soul rekindled itself of its own accord. Still it was
dark, yet somewhere in the deepest recesses of his being he knew
he existed… somewhere, somehow.
question which always precedes all others. *drip*
path to the truth. Everything he thought he was, everything he
wanted to be – it was all meaningless here. Here, alone with
himself, with nothing else to compare against or relate to. *drip*
am I? I am.
true answer to that question. *drip*
drops of blood falling onto the ground... Like drops of water
falling into a still pond, his thoughts rippled through his being.
primal mantra drifting through the void, riding on the crests of
the undulating waves.
louder and louder, the dripping like a pulsing heartbeat…
Growing higher and higher, until the waters were churning with
buried deep within the soul stirring to the surface, spanning ever
outwards and spilling over to the shores of waking consciousness.
Power as ancient as the world itself was flowing through his
veins, closing his wounds, reanimating every part of his body,
bringing color to his skin and revitalizing his senses. His mind
slipped back in synch with his brain. His eyes flew open and he
sprung to his feet with a sonic boom, sending shockwaves which
shattered the mosaics. The demon inside him had awakened, and he
never felt so alive.
you, Vergil,” Dante smiled and clenched his fist.
10 list looked on curiously as a lone figure approached through
the blanket of fog which isolated them from all others. They have
all passed through the mists to get to where they were now, but a
newcomer was a rare occurrence indeed. He was obscured by shadow,
but it was possible to tell that he wore a kimono and carried an
enormous blade across his shoulders. Manji (#10) perked up and
gave him a long, hard stare, fully expecting to be cut down, yet
the newcomer passed him without a second glance.
Kenshin (#9) and plunged his massive sword into the earth. In the
blink of an eye the ground under Kenshin opened up and he fell
screaming into endless nothingness below, swallowed by the
blinding haze. The others gaped as the man did not stop there
either, but kept going still. He sidestepped around Sasuke (#8) who
was caught completely off guard as he was bumped down to (#9) with
a single swipe of the giant sword.
Sasuke settled into his new rank, he crawled into a corner and sat
sulking with his head in his hands. The five Immortals –
Zelgadis (#1), Xelloss (#2), Kurama & Hiei (tied #3), and
Soujirou (#4) – laughed mercilessly at Sasuke. A depressive dark
raincloud formed over him and he began to sniffle, then broke out
in tears. Griffith (#6) and Lucifer (#7) smiled smugly at Sasuke.
Manji let out a sigh of relief, satisfied to have kept his place
on the list.
initial shock wore off and Kenshin’s demotion sank in, the
others finally got a good look at the newcomer. “Ugh, it’s
blond!” they gasped.
glared. “But white hair is completely different, of course!”
Taikoubou (#5) quickly added. The rest agreed. “I hate you
all…” hissed Griffith, clenching his fist
around his behelit. “So what is your name
stranger?” inquired Taikoubou. No sooner had he asked this that
the mysterious swordsman disappeared.
a voice behind him replied, “Kurosaki Ichigo.” Griffith and
Lucifer grimaced as they were moved down on the list. Poor
bewildered Taikoubou found himself at #6 instead of #5. “Bwahahaha!!”
Soujirou pointed at him mockingly, “Serves you right for not
earning the rank of Immortal, ’Bou!” Just then a heavy hand
hit him over the head from above. He looked up to see he had been
knocked down as Ichigo moved up to his spot at #4.
was speechless. The other Immortals looked on in shock at the
newcomer squeezed in between them, already uprooting one of them
from ranks that were meant to be set in stone, neigh unshakable.
Xelloss’ enduring smile faded and he opened his eyes, “Most
interesting.” Zelgadis frowned. “NO!! How could this be?!”
Soujirou shrieked, “He’s not even a demon!!” “Neither are
you,” snapped Hiei.
Immortals looked to Kurama and Hiei, who were poised on guard,
watching Ichigo advance. “Hiei, Kurama… It is up to you
now," Zelgadis, the reigning
king, spoke up, “Perhaps your combined
force could keep the intruder at bay.” “We will try,” said
Kurama. “But I am not sure we could succeed,” said Hiei, a
rare trace of fear creeping across his face as he sized up his
opponent. The two of them flinched and were pushed back on their
feet from the initial slash of Ichigo’s soulcutter. He could
outbleed Kurama, he could overpower Hiei; this they knew, but
would fight it to the end to protect their honor. Soujirou fell to
his knees in shame. Sasuke stopped crying to stare at the
and Xelloss looked on with trepidation, fearing that if Kurama and
Hiei failed they may need to join forces to defeat this threat.
Zelgadis eyed Xelloss suspiciously… perhaps he should ally with
Ichigo instead. It was then that Ichigo did the unthinkable – he brought in Urahara. “Yo,”
he said, in all his blondness. As a last resort, Kurama erupted in
a spontaneous geyser of blood. “It will not work, my love,” Hiei said
softly, “They are too strong.” The demonic duo had no
choice but to let Ichigo pass. The last line of defense had been shaken and the remaining Immortals, the most elite of The
List’s guardians, readied for battle. Their ranks have not been
scathed for a decade, they would not be now!
Ichigo left Xelloss behind before his mazoku eyes could even
perceive the intruder, and the only hint Zelgadis got was feeling
something brush past his purple hair. Both stood wide-eyed,
preparing for the inevitable, expecting their ranks to be usurped
by this newcomer… yet this did not happen. Kurosaki Ichigo
dashed past them and expanded into the
atmosphere, becoming the sky in their world, his presence
traceable by the stars. He had no wish to usurp the thrones
Xelloss and Zelgadis clung to, and instead transcended The List
altogether, claiming the rank of zero… an endless circle,
Kisuke took a step away and turned around. He grinned and
stretched a hand out to Soujirou. “What?” Soujirou gaped,
“No, I can’t accept this. ‘The strong survive, the weak die.’ That is the way of things.” He though on this for a moment.
“Oh screw it!” and took Urahara’s hand, who pulled him back
up to #4 as he himself retreated and sat down leisurely at #5. “YESS!!”
Soujirou cackled, “I got my rank back, everyone!! Did you see
that!?... ahahah!!….. eheh!... heh…….. guys?”
began to sob again. The others sneered. Xelloss closed his eyes and smiled. Zelgadis
looked up into the heavens. They have kept their rank… for
now… but what did it all mean?
been a lot of controversy lately surrounding the movie called The
Passion Of The Christ. Some believe the movie has anti-Semitic
themes that will promote violence against Jews. Already some Jews
are claiming they have received hatemail telling them they should
be crucified or scourged. I, for one, find this phenomenon utterly
in theory, is supposed to be a religion of tolerance, love, and
forgiveness. It's rarely that in practice, but that doesn't
surprise me. After all, the followers of every other religion
often do the exact opposite of their teachings, too. But, for the
love of all things good and holy, why are some Christians angry at
the Jews for crucifying Jesus? You
can't blame an entire people for what a few individuals did
+/-2004 years ago.
nevermind that. Nevermind that Jesus was Jewish, nevermind that it
wasn't the Jews' fault, nevermind that it wasn't even the Romans'
fault... Why are some Christians acting like Jesus being crucified
is a BAD thing?!? It's only the foundation of the entire
religion!! According to Christianity, Jesus dying on the cross
(and resurrecting 3 days later) absolved the sins of mankind.
Through his sacrifice, it was now possible for people to enter
heaven if they embraced his teachings.
if a Christian truly believes that contemporary Jews (or Italians)
are somehow responsible for the actions of a few historic
individuals, they should be THANKING the Jews (or Italians). And
if they need someone to blame, they should blame themselves. After
all, Jesus died for THEIR sins! Of course, you can always blame
women, but that is so 14th century.