Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Romance, Shoujo Age group: 17+
By Ero Senin
Honey and Clover received the Kodansha Manga Award for shoujo manga (which means manga for girls, BTW) in 2007. But comparing it with other shoujo titles such as Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Lovely Complex and probably all others, one rather feels a gust of fresh air. Whereas nearly all shoujo manga and anime picture girls getting (apparently) dreamy looking (and perfect in every sense) boyfriends with clichéd and overused plot twists, Honey and Clover basks in the fresh light of Slice of Life genre. No mushy crap, no unrealistic perfectness and certainly no goo-goo eyed, annoying, weak, shallow and pathetic heroines (I am not saying that all shoujo heroines are like that though).
Honey and Clover is the depiction of the day to day activities of a few art school students. Takemoto Yuuta struggles to find his colour palette and the canvas to brush his heart on. But his everyday life is never short of fun and excitement with helpful senior Mayama and eccentric, greedy and hyper Morita. Upon meeting the cute and small Hagumi Hanamoto (Hehe, I know, right? Hagu-chan, she is called. Hehe), Yuuta, along with Morita, falls in love and his visions are filtered by the coat of love. Along the way we meet many other characters, like Ayumi (hopelessly in love with Mayama), Rika (hopelessly loved by Mayama), and Professor Hanamoto, each with character depths deep enough for several manga put together.
Probably the best part about the two seasons of this anime was when Yuuta runs away on a bicycle to 'find himself' and bikes through Japan. For me, those were the most emphatic episodes.
This could have been just a college romantic comedy. But the unbelievably realistic and complex characterisations, solid humour and the simple yet pleasant animation style separates this manga from all others of the Shoujo category. Love is present, yes, quite strongly in fact. But it does not control the story. The story is about growing up, facing rejections and standing tall. This story is about the pain and longing etched into unrequited love. But it always preserves a cheerful atmosphere over the dark brooding melancholia of the soul.
The music is one of the highlights of this anime. The voice acting was very well done. The comedy is well placed and never feels forced. Actually, the humour and the gloominess are blended perfectly to portray a very believable everyday sequence.
A great anime for all time, not just for the Valentine season. As for availability, internet is your best friend (animax ran it a few years ago).
Songs for this
By By Bareesh Chowdhury (with Adeepto Ahmed)
First thing's first. No, this list does not have cliched crap like Celine Dion or whoever is the 2011 version of Celine Dion.
You're Beautiful - James Blunt
You could sing it to your better half. Of course, if you actually listened to the song, you'd see James Blunt does not score by the end and is left wallowing in loneliness. It's also kind of sad. You see a girl on the subway and write a song about it. If you're forever alone (and no one except James Blunt will tell you you're beautiful), you could listen to it while rocking back and forth in a fetal position, crying yourself to sleep in the dark. If you want to be more masochistic about it, you could try the Weird Al version.
You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
Ok, I can't really write too much about this since most of it will be censored. So I won't even bother. Listen to the song, and you'll get the point.
I Hate Everything About You - Three Days Grace
She dumped you? Sad story bro. Here's some emo rock to help you feel better.
Beautiful Day - U2
This is only if you have a date. Because it would be stupid if you didn't and you were listening to this. Why would anyone do that?
Lonely - Akon
Most forever alone song EVER. Hell, if you listen to this song, you deserve to be alone and friendless. Now if that's the case, why would we suggest this song to you? Because we're terrible people, that's why.
Falling to Pieces - Velvet Revolver
Velvet Revolver was one of those bands that should and could have been much greater than they actually were. Instead they were actually pretty bad. This was a decent song. Again, she left? Sad story bro. Here's some emo rock.
I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry
Pretty self explanatory, isn't it?
Your Time Has Come - Audioslave
You're engaged? Really? Run. While you still can.
Shey Je Boshe Ase Ornob
The Bangladeshi version of Lonely by Akon. Is it weird that I still think it's a decent song?
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Because it's Queen and no playlist is complete without Queen. 'Nuff said.
Tears Don't Fall Bullet For My Valentine
Apparently there's a genre now called screamo. Screaming emo music. This is the flagbearer of the genre. Get dumped, start screaming (cause you're not regular emo and you're better than that), write a song, make a music video with you and your friends in the rain. You are doing something wrong. Just... no.
Teardrops On My Guitar - Taylor Swift
This girl lives to get dumped. Masochist. She's cute and all, but something about her means that people as hopeless as the writers of this playlist would probably dump her after the third date. This song is amazing though. It will fill you up with many different emotions to replace the sadness of being dumped yourself. Mainly, the confusion of why she gets dumped so much, the laughter induced by learning she made a song about getting dumped by a guy named Drew and the urge to kill yourself for listening to a song this bad.
To us movie watchers sitting in front of our LCDs, the concept of 'silent movies' seem archaic and from a monochromatic time that nobody remembers. Chaplin movies are remembered with great reverence, but that's it. In the last few decades, many directors have attempted to bring back silent movies in Hollywood, and some of them have failed quite badly at it. The idea of a silent, black and white movie in 2012 might have raised eyebrows but The Artist does everything with great swag.
The plot is set in 1927, when silent movies were still at their prime. George Valentin is like the George Clooney of the time, and everything he touches turns to gold. Narcissistic and talented, Valentin enjoys his fame like nothing else. One day he comes across Peppy Miller, an aspiring actress, and while shooting their rather short scene in the movie, they find excellent chemistry. In the meantime, the directors are planning on making 'talkies' which they think is the future of cinema. Proud and stubborn, Valentin thinks that the idea of talking movies is ridiculous and he decides to go against the tide to make silent movies on his own. The fall of Valentin's career marks the beginning of Peppy Miller's, as she became America's new sweetheart.
The Artist was directed in France, although all the dialogues are in English. Apart from the two lead actors, almost all the cast is American. Acting wise, Jean Dujardin (George Valentin) and Bérénice Bejo (Peppy Miller) give a fabulous performance, making Dujardin an Oscar forerunner along with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Valentin's Jack Russell Terrier dog is also quite brilliant. The soundtrack plays the main role in the movie and it is also very good.
The Artist overall is a breath of old nostalgia in the middle of 3D movies. It's funny, charming and heart-warming. Should you watch this? I don't know, does 10 Oscar Nominations sound good enough?
By Shaer Reaz
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of interesting side scrolling games. Shank and Trine came out as clear favourites for a revitalised genre, one that has been around since the early 80's.
Frozenbyte has recently launched a sequel to 2009's Trine, and the new game is every bit as fascinating as ever. The major improvements over the first game are the smooth and cheerful graphics, especially commendable because no one really expects a side scrolling game to deliver such a punch in the graphics department.
Trine 2 features a group of heroes returning to save their kingdom once again, led by a mythical object called the Trine.
The physics based-puzzle solving gameplay makes a return, with additional improvements in the interactive environments. In fact, Trine 2 takes the meaning of “interactive environment” and blows it out of the water, with unique objects in each level somehow helping you along your way. How you manipulate these objects to your advantage is up to you, and there are several ways of getting to your destination. This makes for some interesting gameplay, as you find out you are able to do things you never thought you could with your character.
There are three playable characters in the game: Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight. The characters can be switched at will, and employed at solving puzzles using their unique gifts/attributes. Amadeus is able to conjure boxes out of thin air and control objects; Zoya is a master of stealth, using her grapple to swing and reach high places; Pontius is all about brute strength, using his hammer to knock down stone walls and his sword to slay enemies.
The combat doesn't get as much emphasis as the puzzle solving, so Trine 2 isn't as smooth as the rest of the hack and slash games out there. The storytelling is another aspect Trine 2 differs in with respect to games like Shank. The story is a fairytale, and told as such. The voiceover work is superb, taking you back to the days when your mom used to read you bedtime stories. The overall feel of the game is also more like a bedtime story than an action game, a refreshing change if you're tired of looking at Captain Price's behind (on Call of Duty) all day.
The soundtrack, the graphics, the puzzle solving and the storytelling are all high points for Trine 2, but one downer would be the sketchy combat mechanism, and too few enemies to hack at. Overall, Trine 2 is a brilliant game for a fun filled break from the serious games, suitable for kids and adults alike. Give it a try.