Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Since Half-Blood Prince sucked more the second time, I kind of lost steam on my rewatches. But there was just one movie to go, and sometimes I’m a completionist. After rewatching part 1, I go see the movie still in theatres and the suffering ends and I get to direct my attention towards Pottermore and what is that even about anyway?

[This post doesn't actually contain any spoilers. :o]

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If anything, I think I was far too kind in my original review of Half-Blood Prince. This remains my least favorite movie of the franchise, and I think in many ways, it’s rather insulting to the series as a whole.

[This post contains spoilers for the sixth book and movie.]

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I remember distinctly walking out of the theatre after seeing Order of the Phoenix the first time and being furious about it. I declared it the most awful Harry Potter movie at the time, even worse than Prisoner of Azakaban, which is kind of sad since I didn’t have nearly as much invested in this particular book. In fact, I think Order of the Phoenix remains my least favorite book, though it’s been a while since I’ve read it, so maybe not. Theoretically, the less I care for the source, the less picky I should be about the adaptation, right? Clearly not, that first time.

This time though? I think I did manage to enjoy it a lot more because I just didn’t give a damn. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered. It wasn’t good, mind you, but not nearly as terrible. Maybe knowing that I thought Half-Blood Prince was even worse helped?

[This post contains spoilers for the fifth book and movie and vague hints about the rest of the series.]

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I didn’t remember much from when I saw Goblet of Fire the first time, other than maybe thinking again that the dragon fly-around of the Hogwarts ground was kind of superfluous. So I was very, very pleasantly surprised to find that this movie is actually… pretty good?

One day, I’ll actually blog about Japanese cartoons again.

[This post contains spoilers for the fourth book and movie.]

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This is late, so let’s just jump right into it, hm?

[This post contains spoilers for the third book and movie.]

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I was in a bad mood when I popped in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the rewatch, so maybe this is a little unfair, but the second movie didn’t seem to hold up as well as the first one did.

And you know what’s funny? Chamber of Secrets is the second shortest book… but with a run time of 161 minutes, it is the longest movie, period. It is longer than every subsequent movie where Much Worse and More Complicated Things Happen, but while I do feel that the pacing and general storytelling improved a little from movie one, other aspects dragged it down. It’s never fun being the second installment. You have a lot to live up to, and as part of a longer series, you also have a lot to build up to. Chamber of Secrets as a book is already probably the least thrilling, the least memorable, the least favorite — it is debateably the least important too, despite laying the groundwork for many later concepts and themes.

[This post contains nonexplicit spoilers for the second book/movie -- I reference various plot points and themes and commentate but don't ever say exactly what happens.]

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Well, the end is near. The eighth and final Harry Potter movie comes out in less than a month. My love-hate relationship with these movies makes me feel love-hatey things. It’ll all be over soon! But is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I’m rewatching all the previous movies to mentally prepare, but also because I’ve been meaning to anyway. I’ve only seen each movie only once, and the routine had been thus: I’d reread the corresponding the book within a month of the movie’s release, and then I’d see the movie opening night, and gradually, I grew into one of those crazy purists. It’ll be fun to see how those opinions hold up though; after all, it’s been just about a decade since the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit theatres, and I won’t be rereading each book prior to the viewings this time. I have kind of a crappy memory, so maybe this matters.

[This post contains no explicit spoilers for any book or movie, though I suppose you might consider the implied existence of certain characters, events, and later plot developments as spoilers if you're really hardcore about that stuff.]

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It really can’t be because I had high expectations. I didn’t really. I was skeptical. I’m always skeptical. Especially as the one series from the Winter season that seemed to be universally well-liked, I went into the whole thing with a large grain of salt. After all, I don’t seem to have a great track record for agreeing with the popular opinion (see Eureka 7 and Gundam SEED).

Magical girls? Yeah, okay, whatever. Even if Sailor Moon was my first and only, I don’t have a problem with magical girls — but my opinion towards the genre probably wasn’t necessary to factor in anyway, considering everyone was liking Madoka because it was “different” from what you’d typically expect from a magical girl series.

But the first two episodes bored the hell out of me. I didn’t see anything different. It wasn’t bubbly and shoujo enough to be typical magical girl, I guess, but it wasn’t groundbreaking in any way or even halfway intriguing. The characters were flat and uninteresting, wholly good and moral. Homura was a question mark, but did not provide a lot of excitement. Kyuubey was creepy though. Clearly he has an ulterior motive! The collage element in some scenes were kind of neat, but not neat enough for me to watch on that basis alone. And boy, was that opening theme fan-pandering or what.

So I thought about dropping because hey, when was the last time I actually ended up liking a series that I almost dropped early on? Oh, right, never. (The only halfway case was when I almost dropped Dennou Coil near the midpoint because it was slow, but I wasn’t bored at the beginning of the series.) But I was goaded into watching episode three becauseĀ it’s such a short series anyway, and episode three was the first instance of Puella Magi Madoka Magica being different.

(Spoilers for the entire series beyond this point.)

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If you weren’t around when the news broke early yesterday afternoon, TOKYOPOP’s US Publishing division will be shutting down around May. This should have surprised no one; the company’s has given plenty of signs that it was in trouble in recent years: multiple initiatives failing (most notably OEL), Kodansha pulling its licenses, Borders’ bankruptcy, the most recent round of layoffs in February… It was hardly unexpected. And the reactions Friday afternoon weren’t unexpected either. Deb Aoki at About.com has a good round-up of reactions thus far.

Amongst worry about the fates of dozens of unfinished series, much of the reactionary concern is with the lost in limbo comics of OEL creators, which TOKYOPOP has held fast to. Will the rights revert automatically? Many of these series have already been drawn in their entirety — will they finally see print elsewhere? It remains to be seen, but S.Girl points out that the answer to the first question is “no.” The rights won’t autorevert. And TOKYOPOP isn’t going away completely — their New Media division remains, so there’s still an entity to hold the rights. But with their Publishing division gone (at least in the US; TP Germany will continue operations), what incentive is there for TP to hold on to the publishing rights?

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So despite being a pretty terrible and inconsistent blogger all year, I decided to participate in Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa project. My choices of assignments were Gunslinger Girl, Tatami Galaxy, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days. I have been casually recommended Gunslinger Girl before, but had never been terribly interested in it. I have seen the first episode of Tatami Galaxy and had meant to watch it the season it aired, but that season I got behind on everything, and I never did get around to catching up ever. And Place Promised has been on my to-watch list for years.

Originally, I was on the over-ambitious bandwagon and planned on watching and reviewing all three of their possible choices in time for Christmas. Obviously this didn’t happen. I ended up going with Place Promised mostly because it was the shortest. I still kind of intend to watch the rest of Tatami Galaxy eventually, but the longer I wait the more I feel indifferent to it. I’m not sure that I’m ever going to get around to Gunslinger Girl unless someone gives a particularly passionate recommendation.

But here is the review for Place Promised. And here is the MAL mirror.

Merry Christmas!

 
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