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Fantasy Round 22.1: Dresden Files

I love the Dresden Files and will be following these blog posts as they are posted!

Clement's Game

Note: This post was written jointly by both Michael and Rachel

The Dresden Files is Jim Butcher’s long-running urban fantasy series, combining detective fiction with a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, a bit of a noir style, and shout-outs to a lot of current scifi and fantasy fan culture.  Butcher started the series as part of a writing course, and wrote it in deliberate contrast to the sword-and-sorcery stories he had done before.  He’s described the series as a happy accident, “like penicillin”, and has been putting out a book a year on average since 2000 – along with a large number of short stories, novellets, and novellas set in the same universe.  The franchise has developed to include comics, a table-top role-playing game, and a short-lived TV adaptation.

One of Butcher’s particularly successful strategies with the series has been how the various episodes stitch together to form a larger narrative.  He…

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Recent adventures: Once Upon A Time Season 1

Recent adventures: Once Upon A Time Season 1

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I just started watching the ABC fantasy drama Once Upon A Time. As a fan of both Disney and fantasy, you would think I would have started watching this when it first aired, but I did not. I finally decided to give this show a chance because many of my friends and my family rave about the show. Therefore, thanks to Netflix I recently started watching season one.

Here are my thoughts on the first season of this show without giving any spoilers:

Story

This is Fairy Tale Land. It’s filled with magic, monsters and all of the characters we all know from stories growing up. It’s real, and so are the people in it. But unlike the “happily ever after” you may have heard about, their stories continued, and The Evil Queen cast a Dark Curse over the land….

This is Storybrooke. It’s a quiet, little, New England town filled with people who go about their everyday lives with no idea who they really are. The Queen’s Curse has trapped them here and placed her in near-complete control. They have no real memories and no real hope.

Once Upon A Time is, at its core, a story about hope.

At first, I was not too happy with how the story switched from the “fantasy world” to “our world”. This switching made it harder to keep track of all the different characters and how they related to each other. However, as the series progressed, I became invested in the characters and how they relate to each other and the switches became less of a nuisance.

Characters

I have to say that based on the shows that I have seen so far, I love the characters and how they are portrayed. Almost all of the women in the show are strong, complex, great role models and from time-to-time even those that are ‘evil’ show a ‘good’ side, which adds another level of complexity. I think the writers have done a good job with the banter and interaction between the characters, especially between Emma Swan and Regina Mills (aka Evil Queen) pictured below:

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Settings and Costumes

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I love the fantasy settings and the costumes used throughout the series. The visuals are just amazing and are reminiscent of the settings use in The Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies. The costumes for the characters, when they are portrayed in the fantasy world, appear to be extremely detailed and fit the imagery already established in the Disney animated features and other sources. I am slightly disappointed every time the setting switches back to the town of Storybrooke in “our world” and the characters are back into their “normal” everyday attire.

I will probably do a more through review once I finish watching more of this series. In the meantime, if you have not seen this series yet and want to find out more, then you should check out the official ABC Once Upon A Time website which features some really good 101 videos. You can also watch the first season on Netflix, like I am doing, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

If You’re Seeing This Post, Then Redshirts Has Won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

Great Way to dedicate an award acceptance!

Whatever

In which case: Whoo-hoo!

(I wrote this up so that when the award was announced, if Redshirts won I would be able to press a button and have it post, because I am otherwise occupied at the American Library Association conference this weekend. If it doesn’t win, of course, then none of you will ever see this, and I will delete it at some point. I recognize this explanation is a little meta. But then, so is Redshirts.)

The other finalists for the award were Iain M. Banks’ The Hydrogen Sonata; Lois McMaster Boujold’s Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance; James S.A. Corey’s Caliban’s War and Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312. This is a very fine field of finalists, any of whom would of course have been an excellent winner. I was thrilled to share a slate with all of them.

As I was unable to be at the Locus Award Weekend…

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June #FangirlPhotoADay Challenge: Day 3

I have accepted a challenge from Twitter User @kim_love who challenges all fangirls to answer one question a day via photos with the #FangirlPhotoADay hash tag.

The following photos answer the question for Day 3:

Question 3) Favorite Book (Comic)

Many of my favorite books that are my favorites are part of ongoing series and I cannot pick just one book, especially if it is part of a series. Therefore, I decided to share some of my favorite book and manga series instead.

Favorite Contemporary Romance series

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Favorite Historical Romance series

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Favorite Science Fiction series

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Favorite Fantasy series

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Favorite Shojo Manga series

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Favorite Shonen Manga series

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Upcoming Adventure: Yets!

I recently attended Motor City Comic Con and met author and illustrator Mike Bocianowski in Artist’s Alley. When I visited his table, I saw some illustrations of some very cute looking creatures. I instantly wanted to learn more about them. As I was looking at the illustrations, the artist formally introduced me to them. These cute creatures are called YETS.

What are YETS?

YETS are creatures who have no name as of yet. They live in the giant Treeworld of Chlem. Humans couldn’t pronounce the real name of these creatures, so they renamed them Yets

It did not take much persuasion on the artist’s part to convince me to buy YETS! 1: The Adventure Begins, which is the first volume of the graphic novel series starring the YETS.

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After only reading the first pages of this volume, I noticed that the artwork was very crisp, clean and easy to follow. In addition, the story was interesting and the dialog was fast paced. I could tell right away that this was going to be an interesting adventure. Therefore, I went back the next day to Mike Bocianowski’s table and bought the other two volumes of the series as well.

These volumes have now been added to my ever growing to be read (TBR) pile. Once I read the entire series, I will write a review and post it here.

Geekdown: Top Ten Samurai

My favorite samurai, Kenshin, is #2 on this list, but will always be #1 to me!

42 Webs

I dig samurai.  You dig Samurai.  We dig samurai. Chicks dig samurai.  (Or is that Giant Robots?)  Anywho who doesn’t dig samurai?  Lone warrior, loyal to their masters, fighting stuff and killing people.  Done in one, son.  But who is the best samurai?  Now normally that would involve a battle to the death between all these warrior but that would be messy and bloody……and violent…..and…..and…….and…..actually that sounds kind of kick ass!!!  TO THE THUNDERDOME!!!!!

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#AtoZChallenge Yuko Ichihara

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A-Z Blog Challenge Topic: Yuko Ichihara

Who is Yuko Ichihara?

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Yuko Ichihara is one of the main characters from the manga series xxxHolic. She is also a major supporting character for another manga series called Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. In both series, Yuko is basically a witch who grants wishes to others, for an appropriate price, using her mysterious gifts.

The following is an excerpt from the character profile for Yuko from the English translated edition of “The Official xxxHolic Guide” that expands on this:

The lady owner of a store that grants the wishes of its customers, for an appropriate price. The name, she admits is an alias. She is also known as the “Dimension Witch” or “Space Time Witch. Her strange gifts have earned her much recognition, both from people involved in the fortune-telling and other spiritual fields, and from inhuman beings.

Much of Yuko’s character and the stories of xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle unfold through the reveal her mysterious gifts and what happens after these gifts are used. Therefore, in order to avoid spoilers, I will concentrate this post on some of the merchandise that feature the character of Yuko. These merchandise examples might not show very much of Yuko’s character. However, these do show some of the outfits that Yuko wears and some of the motifs, such as Butterflies, that are associated with her throughout each of xxxHolic or Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle volumes.

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xxxHolic Limited Edition Lithograph

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xxxHolic Pin Set Yuki & Watanuki

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Yuko & Mokano Cell Phone Charm

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CLAMP No Kiseki Limited Edition Set includes a Yuko Chess Piece

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Yuko Patch

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Yuko Messenger Bag

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Yuko Wall Clock

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xxxHolic The Movie Tote Bag

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Yuko & Watanuki Towel

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Yuko Heart Shaped Key Chain

#AtoZChallenge xxxHolic by CLAMP

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A-Z Blog Challenge Topic: xxxHolic by CLAMP

What is xxxHolic?

×××Holic, pronounced as “holic,” is a manga series created, written and illustrated by a group of female manga artists known as CLAMP.

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xxxHolic is about a young man, named Watanuki, who has the ability to see spirits. Unfortunately, these spirits are attracted to Watanuki and many of them are evil and looking do him and those around him harm. One day, as Watanuki is walking home from school, he find a mysterious house that was not there before. Inside this house, is a woman named Yuko, who claims that it was not a ‘coincidence’ that Watanuki came into her “shop”, but it was “hitsuzen“.

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Yuko is a witch, who can grant wishes, and no one can see her “shop” unless they have a wish that they want granted. There is a price for each wish that is granted and it must be of equal value to the wish. Watanuki’s wish is to get rid of the spirits that are bothering him and his ability to see them. However, the price to grant this wish is very steep. Therefore, in exchange for this wish, Watanuki must work for Yuko in her shop after school each day. As part of his job, Watanuki runs errands, cooks and helps Yuko fulfill the wishes of others. As Watanuki works for and helps Yuko fulfill the wishes of others, he learns more about himself and those around him.

Main Characters

Yuko

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The witch who grants wishes.

Watanuki

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The young man who can see spirits and works in Yuko’s shop helping to grant wishes.

This summary just scratches the surface of this manga series. If you want to learn more about xxxHolic, check out the Publishers Weekly 06/07/2004 Review on xxxHolic Manga Vol 1. This review does a splendid job of giving a glimpse into this world and what to expect! You can also check the other mediums that this story is available as well:

#AtoZChallenge “S” Franchises, Fandoms & Series

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A-Z Blog Challenge Topic: “S” Franchises, Fandoms & Series

I have found an interesting fact: I can name over 20 franchises, fandoms or series that start with the letter “S”. Below is my list of “S” Franchises, Fandoms & Series (in alphabetical order):

  • Sailor Moon
  • Saiyūki
  • Samurai Jack
  • Samurai X (alternate name used for Rurouni Kenshin)
  • Scarecrow and Mrs. King
  • School Rumble
  • Scooby Doo
  • Sgt. Frog
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Shrek
  • (The) Simpsons
  • Slayers
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • South Park
  • Speed Racer
  • Spice and Wolf
  • Spider-man
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Starblazers (North American name of Space Battleship Yamato)
  • Stargate
  • Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (the second of three anime series that make up Robotech)
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross (the first of three anime series that make up Robotech)
  • Super Mario Brothers
  • Superman
  • So, can you name any others to add to this list?

    #AtoZChallenge Princesses in Anime & Manga

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    A-Z Blog Challenge Topic: Princesses in Anime & Manga

    There are all kinds of lists for the animated Disney princesses. However, I was curious if there were any list of princesses that appear in either anime or manga. Unfortunately, I did not find any list that covers this topic. Therefore, based on those anime or manga series that I am familiar with, I decided to create my own list. Below is a list of 10 princesses who appear in anime or manga, in alphabetical order…

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    Princess Aeyka
    From: Tenchi Muyô! anime series.

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    Princess AI
    From: Princess AI manga series.

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    Princess Amelia Wil Tesla Saillune
    From: The Slayers anime series distributed by Funimation.

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    Princess Leia
    From: 1998 Manga version of the Star Wars Original Trilogy movies distributed by Dark Horse Comics

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    Princess Mononoke
    From: Princess Mononoke anime movie by director Hayao Miyazaki

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    Princess Sakura
    From: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle manga and anime series.

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    Princess Sapphire
    From: Princess Knight Shōjo manga and anime by the godfather of Japanese anime and manga, Osamu Tezuka

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    Princess Serenity
    From: Sailor Moon manga and anime series.

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    Princess Valkyrie
    From: UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie anime and manga series.

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    Princess Vivi
    From: One Piece manga and anime series.

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