18 April 2010 @ 04:48 pm
Personal Entry No. 51  
This is something of a "state of the union" post for [livejournal.com profile] momoizumu. As for my state, my vitamin levels are now normal, my schoolwork is under control, and I got fourth place in that Russian competition. If I had only performed better on the "reading aloud" segment, I would have had a chance at making second: I scored fourth in that and second in both the poetry and monologue competitions. (What's strange is that the text I had to read aloud was apparently about Peter the Great's daily schedule, including his magnificent lunch of many different kinds of sausages and cheeses. At least my reading comprehension is all right?)

From left to right: [livejournal.com profile] laury_kos, [livejournal.com profile] mina_akira, [livejournal.com profile] makwui, [livejournal.com profile] rainmage, and [livejournal.com profile] rhap_chan's requests. For the first, I need to finish shading Sakura and Syaoran and tighten the scenery; for the second, I need to fix the composition and finish Kobato's skirt; for the third, I need to finish Hitsugaya's sword and paint in the whole zanpakutou Freestyle; for the fourth, I need to paint in a sufficiently-geeky background; and for the fifth, I just have to tighten the details on Yuuko's hair ornament and kimono. It's been over four months since the requests post was made--I'm sorry to make you all wait this long!

Speaking of which, I feel as though it will be several thousand years before I make another post at [livejournal.com profile] momoizumu. The tutorial is finished up to the background segment, and I have 33 icons ready. Here's a preview of the colorings I used, as well as a few images that are currently on the backburner:

♠ If you've been tagged, you must write your answers in your own LJ and replace any question that you dislike with a new question.
♠ Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

This one is from [livejournal.com profile] kencana_kencana, though I'm pretty sure it never quite dies out.

#01: What song are you currently addicted to?
- Some tracks from the Baten Kaitos soundtracks:

Note to the Baten Kaitos fans: I have no idea how Giacomo got such a great theme song. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this.

#02: What books are you currently reading?
- For school, I just finished going through Roy Medvedev's On Stalin and Stalinism and Vladimir Propp's Theory and History of Folklore. (My final paper for my class on Russian and Central Asian history is going to be on "hero-making" and the construction of myths from the time of Kievan Rus' to the collapse of the USSR. Let's see if I can manage to write ten coherent pages on it!)

For myself, I've been reading Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz and Natsume Sōseki's Through My Glass Doors whenever I have enough free time.

#03: What was the last movie you saw?
- The last full movie I saw was the original Ghost in the Shell, I think.

- Robots. See #06 for more clarification.

#05: Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
- My father.

#06: What's your current fandom/obsession/addiction?
- Mass Effect, Armored Core, and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.

#07: What single object is closest to you right now?
- The spiffy new headset my mother and brother gave me for my birthday.

#08: Look at your bookmark list (if you have one). What is the third link? (If you have bookmark folders, what is the third link in the first and/or fourth folders?)
- ashwara on deviantART in the first folder, "Made in the U.S.A." in the fourth.

#09: What was the last thing you bought?
- If I remember correctly, some groceries. If we stretch the definition of "buying," however, than we can count the endless amounts of quarters I recently fed into our school's outdated, inefficient washing machines.

#10: Would you rather date a good singer, or a good cook?
- A good cook, since "good" singers tend not to sing on demand.

#11: If you could only listen to one band or singer for the rest of your life who would it be?
- Possibly Maaya Sakamoto, due to her versatility.

#12: Can you dance?
- Not even to save my life! My sister can tap dance and do the Charleston, though.

#13: What was the last meal you ate?
- A bowl of Berry Berry Kix and vitamins. I'm a gourmet in every sense of the word.

#14: Do you want to learn another language?
- I'm trying to learn two in addition to English, so I think learning another new language isn't an option!

#15: What are five things you can't live without?
- Oxygen, sleep, food, water, and my family.

#16: Find the closest book currently sitting near you and flip to page 54. What is the first sentence of the second paragraph?
- "An English word beginning with the /ca/ of 'cab' borrowed into Japanese may have as its initial mora /kya/ instead of /ka/."

#17: What's something you'd like to say to someone right now?
- I know you won't believe me, but adopting a positive outlook and sticking to it will help you deal with your troubles much better than you are now.

#18: What are you looking forward to?
- Getting my finals over with and going home.

#19: A woman in a shoe store pays for a pair of $30 shoes with a $50 bill. The clerk doesn't have change, so he goes to the shop next door to break the $50 bill. He then gives the woman her change.

A while later, the clerk next door comes into the shoe store complaining that the bill she got from the shoe clerk was counterfeit. The mortified shoe clerk gives the other shopkeeper a $50 bill of his own in apology. Both the woman with the fake bill and the shoes she took are gone. In total, how much did the shoe-store clerk lose in dollars?
- It doesn't matter, as the shoe store clerk fulfilled his civil duty and contacted his local U.S. Secret Service field office. Remember, kids: justice always pays!

I'll tag [livejournal.com profile] mairenn_k, [livejournal.com profile] jlarinda, [livejournal.com profile] lavender88, [livejournal.com profile] lady_kikyou, [livejournal.com profile] vegetas, [livejournal.com profile] countersparking, [livejournal.com profile] baelheit, and [livejournal.com profile] ianthefira for this one.

The Animated Movie Meme:

- X what you saw
- O what you haven't finished/saw sizable portions
- Bold what you loved
- Italics for what you disliked/hated
- Leave unchanged if neutral

Classic Disney (I was so young when I saw these, I can't quite recall if I enjoyed them or not.)
[X] 101 Dalmatians (1961)
[O] Alice in Wonderland (1951)
[X] Bambi (1942)
[X] Cinderella (1950)
[X] Dumbo (1941)
[O] Fantasia (1940)
[X] Lady and the Tramp (1955)
[X] Mary Poppins (1964)
[O] Peter Pan (1953)
[X] Pinocchio (1940)
[X] Sleeping Beauty (1959)
[X] Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
[ ] Song of the South (1946)

Disney's Dark Age
[X] The Aristocats (1970)
[ ] The Black Cauldron (1985)
[X] The Fox and the Hound (1981)
[ ] The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
[X] The Jungle Book (1967)
[O] The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
[X] Oliver and Company (1986)
[ ] Pete's Dragon (1977)
[O] The Rescuers (1977)
[O] Robin Hood (1973)
[O] The Sword In The Stone (1963)

The Disney Renaissance (Our grandparents took us to see many of these when they came out--it brings back a lot of good memories.)
[X] Aladdin (1992)
[X] Beauty and the Beast (1991)
[X] A Goofy Movie (1995)
[X] Hercules (1997)
[X] The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
[X] The Lion King (1994)
[X] The Little Mermaid (1989)
[X] Mulan (1998) (This is definitely one of my favorite Disney movies of all time.)
[X] Pocahontas (1995) (I don't remember this, but my sister says that our grandfather loudly remarked, "That was a bomb!," as we were walking out of the movie theater.)
[X] The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
[X] Tarzan (1999)

Disney's Modern Age
[ ] Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
[ ] Bolt (2008)
[ ] Brother Bear (2003)
[ ] Chicken Little (2005)
[ ] Dinosaur (2000)
[X] The Emperor's New Groove (2000) (My siblings and I quoted this movie for months after we saw it.)
[ ] Fantasia 2000 (2000)
[ ] Home on the Range (2004)
[ ] Meet the Robinsons (2007)
[O] Treasure Planet (2002)
[ ] The Princess and the Frog (2009)

[X] A Bug's Life (1998)
[ ] Cars (2006)
[X] Finding Nemo (2003) (I never understood why my friends were so obsessed over this movie.)
[ ] The Incredibles (2004)
[X] Monsters Inc. (2001)
[X] Ratatouille (2007)
[X] Toy Story (1995)
[X] Toy Story 2 (1999)
[X] Wall-E (2008) (I just wish the humans didn't talk so much near the end of the film!)
[X] Up (2009) (The very first segment of the film is one of the reasons why animation is still a beautiful and viable medium. Also, you have no soul if you didn't like Dug the Dog.)

Don Bluth
[X] All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989) (I was always a sucker for animated dogs and cats, but the big-lipped alligator moment did the movie in.)
[X] An American Tail (1986)
[X] Anastasia (1997) (I loved this film with a burning passion when I was little. I also thought that Tsar Nicholas II was a decent man, and that the Russian Revolution was engineered by an evil lich who had no prior connection to the royal family. Well, at least I still enjoy the soundtrack!)
[X] The Land Before Time (1988)
[ ] The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)
[O] Rock-a-Doodle (1991) (This movie is stuck somewhere in my subconscious, and I can't get it out.)
[ ] The Secret of NIMH (1982)
[X] Thumbelina (1994)
[ ] Titan AE (2000)
[O] A Troll in Central Park (1994)

[ ] The Adventures of Mark Twain (1986)
[X] Chicken Run (2000) (My parents quoted this movie months after we saw it. They're big fans of Wallace and Gromit-esque humor.)
[ ] Corpse Bride (2005)
[X] James and the Giant Peach (1996) (I was too little when I saw it--I loved the book, but the movie creeped me out.)
[ ] Nightmare Before Christmas, The (1993)
[X] Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) (I'm sorry, [livejournal.com profile] rainmage.)
[ ] Flushed Away (2006)
[ ] Coraline (2009)

[ ] Antz (1998)
[ ] Happy Feet (2006)
[ ] Kung Fu Panda (2008)
[ ] Madagascar (2005)
[ ] Madagascar 2 (2008)
[ ] Monster House (2006)
[ ] Over the Hedge (2006)
[ ] Polar Express, The (2004)
[ ] Robots (2005)
[X] Shrek (2001)
[X] Shrek 2 (2004)
[ ] Shrek The Third (2007)
[ ] Happily N'Ever After (2006)
[ ] Open Season (2006)

[ ] Arabian Knight (aka The Thief and the Cobbler)
[X] The Last Unicorn (1982)
[ ] Light Years
[ ] The Plague Dogs
[ ] The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
[ ] Persepolis (2007)
[ ] Waltz With Bashir (2008)
[ ] Watership Down (1978)
[ ] When the Wind Blows (1988)
[ ] Yellow Submarine (1968)

Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki
[X] Grave of the Fireflies (I didn't dislike this film. It made me dislike myself.)
[ ] Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
[O] Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) (I have to finish watching this someday!)
[ ] Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
[ ] Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
[ ] My Neighbors The Yamadas
[ ] My Neighbor Totoro (1993)
[ ] Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
[ ] Only Yesterday
[ ] Pom Poko (Tanuki War)
[X] Ponyo (2008)
[ ] Porco Rosso (1992)
[X] Princess Mononoke (1999)
[X] Spirited Away (2002)
[ ] Tales of Earthsea (2006)
[ ] The Cat Returns
[X] Whisper of the Heart

Satoshi Kon
[ ] Millennium Actress (2001)
[X] Paprika (2006)
[ ] Perfect Blue (1999)
[ ] Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
[ ] Memories - "Magnetic Rose" (1995)

Shinkai Makoto
[ ] She and Her Cat (1999)
[ ] Voices of a Distant Star (2001)
[ ] The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)
[ ] 5 Centimeters per Second (2007)

Other Anime Films
[ ] Adolescence of Utena
[ ] Akira (1989)
[ ] Appleseed
[ ] Appleseed: Ex Machina
[ ] Arcadia of My Youth
[ ] Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2003)
[ ] The Dagger of Kamui
[ ] Dirty Pair: Project Eden
[ ] End of Evangelion
[ ] Fist of the North Star
[ ] Galaxy Express
[X] Ghost in the Shell (1996)
[ ] The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
[ ] Lensman
[ ] Macross: Do You Remember Love
[X] Metropolis (2001) (The film had great potential, but some of the symbolism and plot developments were too heavy-handed. How can anyone take that scene with Rock in the maid uniform seriously?)
[ ] Neo-Tokyo
[ ] Ninja Scroll
[ ] Patlabor the Movie
[ ] The Professional: Golgo 13
[ ] Project A-ko
[ ] Robotech: The Shadow Chronicle
[ ] Silent Mobius
[ ] Space Adventure Cobra
[ ] Steamboy (2004)
[ ] Street Fighter II (Manga version)
[ ] Sword of the Stranger
[ ] The Fantastic Adventures of Unico
[ ] Unico and the Island of Magic
[ ] Urotsukidoji: The Movie
[ ] Vampire Hunter D
[ ] Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
[ ] Wings of Honneamise: Royal Space Force
[ ] Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

Cartoons For Grown-Ups
[ ] American Pop
[X] The Animatrix (2003) (I loved some segments, especially Beyond, A Detective's Story, and Program, but I strongly disliked The Second Renaissance and couldn't stand Matriculated at all.)
[ ] Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon The Movie
[ ] Beavis & Butthead Do America (1996)
[ ] Cool World
[ ] Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
[ ] Final Fantasy: Advent Children (2006)
[ ] Fire & Ice
[ ] Fritz the Cat (1972)
[ ] The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974)
[ ] Heavy Metal (1981)
[ ] Heavy Metal 2000 (2000)
[ ] Hey Good Looking
[ ] Lady Death
[ ] A Scanner Darkly (2006)
[ ] South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
[ ] Street Fight (AKA - Coonskin)
[X] Waking Life (2001) (Note: I hated this film so much. It is the most horrible abuse of motion-capture animation ever thrust upon mankind.)

Other Animated Movies I Can't Categorize
[X] Animal Farm
[ ] Animalympics
[X] Balto
[O] Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
[ ] Batman and the Mask of Phantasm
[X] The Brave Little Toaster (1988)
[ ] The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue (1997)
[ ] The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1998)
[ ] Bravestarr: The Movie
[ ] Care Bears: The Movie
[ ] Care Bears: The Movie II
[X] Cats Don't Dance (1997) (Can you tell that I liked movies about anthropomorphic animals when I was little?)
[O] Charlotte's Web (1973)
[X] Fern Gully
[ ] G.I. Joe: The Movie
[ ] Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords
[ ] He-Man & She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword
[ ] The Hobbit
[X] The Iron Giant (1999)
[ ] Justice League: The New Frontier
[ ] Lord of the Rings
[ ] Looney Tunes: Back in Action
[ ] My Little Pony: The Movie
[X] Once Upon a Forest (1993)
[ ] Opus: A Wish for Wings that Work
[ ] The Phantom Tollbooth
[ ] Pink Floyd's The Wall (1982)
[X] The Prince of Egypt (1998)
[ ] Joseph: King of Dreams
[O] Powerpuff Girls: The Movie
[ ] Quest For Camelot (1999)
[ ] Ringing Bell
[O] The Road to El Dorado (2000)
[ ] Rock & Rule
[X] Space Jam (coughs)
[ ] Starchaser: The Legend of Orin
[ ] Superman: Doomsday
[X] The Swan Princess (1994) (I vaguely remember liking this movie, but I need to rewatch it--I was only four or five years old when I saw it.)
[ ] Transformers: The Movie (1986)
[ ] Wizards
[ ] Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
[ ] Wonder Woman
27 | +
( Post a new comment )
[identity profile] rhap-chan.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Honestly, I love getting all these little previews and stuff. Heightens the anticipation! Don't feel pressured; finish in your own time!
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
If these were paid art commissions, I would have committed a felony by now. D: Anyway, I'm glad you like them. (Also, if there are any problems with your own request, feel free to tell me about them. A good thing about these WIP posts is that I can receive and make changes based on feedback.)
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[identity profile] rhap-chan.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, no problems at all! It's incredibly lovely.
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[identity profile] arha-chan.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)

adjaskdnj that's the divorce woman in Kobato!! omg, you made her look SO beautiful!!!! yay for dark skin! =D seriously, i think i'll imagine her like that from now on.

All wips look gorgeous <3 And i admire your willpower! i'm totally uncapable of working in the same drawing for so long lol.

You need to finish Kiki's delivery service and just watch more Ghibli movies in general! D= they're so wonderful to not to watch them.
I totally second what you say about Mulan. it's an awesome movie <3

And congrats about the Russian competition! even if i'm sure you deserved the second place, fourth it's not bad at all! <3

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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I based the coloring for her skin and the background on this fellow's artwork (http://artsammich.deviantart.com/), which is nothing short of amazing. Coincidentally, he worked on painting a coloring book page (http://artsammich.deviantart.com/art/Princess-Coloring-Book-138541631), too--it's a good exercise for trying out new color schemes and lighting styles.

My problem is that I never have a good idea of when I'm finished. I started and abandoned a lot of sketches and paintings when I first started out with Photoshop, so this is something of a record for me. :)

Finally, thank you about the Russian competition! At least the fellow who won first came from our school.
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[identity profile] arha-chan.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)

lol!, oh well, you made her look very pretty anyways. Oh! i saw that exercise a month ago or so... it's pretty interesting, maybe i'll try it someday, i really need to practise coloring.

I'm curious... from what manga is the boy below the divorce woman? the drawing looks so pretty <3
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
The little boy is from Otoyomegatari (http://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=37308) ("Young Bride's Tale"), by Kaoru Mori. The artwork is amazing--you can see her working on a page here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfENoePp36o&feature=related)!

Edited 2010-04-21 02:32 pm (UTC)
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[identity profile] arha-chan.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)

OMG. That's amazing O.O thank you very much for the link! <3 and the manga sounds interesting, i'll add it to my should-read-list xD
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[identity profile] laury-kos.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
beautiful previews! can't wait for them
also awesome memes!, believe it or not, I read them x'D
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for wading through these mega-memes. :D
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http://rainmage.livejournal.com/[identity profile] rainmage.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)
Don't be sorry, I know well I'm weird for not liking Wallace and Gromit. Different tastes, different colors, so on.

The Swan Princess didn't age too well to me (particularly the romance), but since a couple of my friends still loved it in a rewatch it's YMMV. And like someone said above, Kiki's Delivery Service is adorable.
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
I think it's the humor that's weird, not you--I can understand someone not enjoying it.

I was getting excited about renting all of these old cartoons, until I realized that our local video store has closed down. I was more surprised than upset when my mother told me about it on the phone a few months ago, but now I really feel its absence. ALL THAT NOSTALGIA, GONE.
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http://rainmage.livejournal.com/[identity profile] rainmage.livejournal.com on April 20th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
Awwww, that sucks :( We didn't have a rental video shop nearby when I was a kid (there was a Blockbuster Video but in my teens), so I had to buy or borrow VHS tapes to watch a movie. But it's always devastating to see places from our childhood gone.
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[identity profile] kencana-kencana.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
Wow, new manga colouring. I can't wait. And... yaay! There's Tokyo Babylon colouring here ^^
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
I have a few more Tokyo Babylon images in the queue. :)
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[identity profile] baelheit.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
Lovely previews ♥

And I approve of Baten Kaitos music :D that tag is so true, too
I think Giacomo has such an epic theme song because he's secretly totally epic.
He has trouble showing it.
But he is. :D

*runs off to answer to that meme*
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
/needs a good Baten Kaitos icon

Older Giacomo is epic, no doubt about it. He was the only character in the game with good voice acting Just look at those feathers!

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[identity profile] baelheit.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
/needs even more BK icons
I love older Giacomo. :3 And fff so true.
The feathers... and the manly abs! I'll forever wonder what's the point of an full plate armor that doesn't protect your guts. XD
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Re: /needs even more BK icons
What are you talking about?! Giacomo's abs are so manly, they can repel bullets!
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[identity profile] baelheit.livejournal.com on April 19th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
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[identity profile] mina-akira.livejournal.com on April 20th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC)
Amazing Outou is amazing!!♥♥♥♥
Don't worry at all!! I think they're all turning wonderful. I'm really loving mine and everybody else's *A* But take your time -u- *thumbs up*

I think I would choose Maaya Sakamoto as well. As you said, she's very versatile...and her voice is simply very soft and pleasing to the ear ;u; (i-in my opinion)

I think Mulan was my idol when I was 8 LOL It's one my favorite movies from Disney of all time too. A-and I used to think that way too after watching Anastasia when I was little LOL <3333

Do well Outou ~ *A* ♥ Good luck with everything!!

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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
:'D Thank you so much!

Maaya Sakamoto has a very soft and pleasant speaking voice, too--I almost wish she voiced Kobato instead of Hana Kanazawa. (She would have hit the high notes on Ashita Kuru Hi better, that's for sure!)

Anastasia took enough liberties with history to make me unable to watch it again. XD

You, too!
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[identity profile] grprsa.livejournal.com on April 20th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
WoW! Those memes look fun...I think I'm gonna fill them out over the weekend...


"I know you won't believe me, but adopting a positive outlook and sticking to it will help you deal with your troubles much better than you are now." - That is so true...I have tell this to myself every now and then when I'm stressing out.
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 02:39 pm (UTC)

I think I've been able to handle my personal problems much better now that I can calm myself down and focus on what I can do to improve my own situation. It's a hard thing to say to people with worse problems, though.
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[identity profile] mairenn-k.livejournal.com on April 20th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
The request pictures and the new icons all look amazing! ♥

Mulan and Anastasia are among my favorite movies as well. It's been years since I watched them now but I really want to rewatch them soon and see how much I remember of them. Haha, and yes, hearing the original versions of the stories that these movies were based on could definitely be a little traumatizing sometimes. I remember how disappointed I was when I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame and realized that Esmeralda didn't get a happy ending at all. The case was pretty much the same with Pocahontas, iirc.

Also, congrats about the competition! \o/
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I remember being very disappointed with the real version of Pocahontas when I was little, but The Hunchback of Notre Dame was surprising (if only because the little goat mascot was actually in the book). I'm normally in favor of the original stories when books are adapted into films, but Disney's changes were worth it-- especially so far as Phoebus and Esmeralda were concerned.

How's everything over there with the volcanic ash? I heard that the airports in Europe (outside of the UK, that is) are reopening, but I'm still worried.
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[identity profile] mairenn-k.livejournal.com on April 21st, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think I prefer Disney's version of them too, even tough it's hard to compare the original story with the movie like that. Esmeralda was always one of my favorite Disney characters when I was a kid.

Yes, it seems like it's getting better - apparently the volcano has calmed down (or well, entered another phase of the eruption), and the ash is drifting away (at least that's what the latest reports said) even if things remain pretty uncertain. Most airports are open now, but the situation's still chaotic for all the travellers that have been stuck, and enormous amounts of money have been lost. It will probably take a while before things calm down, even if the volcano activity stops soon.
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