Posts Tagged With: anime

[Game] Blade Kitten

Blade_kitten  The game takes place on an artificial alien planetoid known as Hollow Wish. Kit Ballard, our protagonist, goes there on a lead of some local trouble maker with a great bounty on her head (Kit is a bounty hunter). Yet as soon as she sets a foot on that planet – disaster follows. A rival bounty hunter Justice Kreel destroys her ship and steals her breaker key that contains all the required information on capturing Terra-Li, the troublemaker. So for the first one third of the game – that’s your priority. Catch Justice, get your key back, kill the red guys.

Welcome to Hollow Wish… On the surface, it’s your typical lawless frontier. Yet this mysterious shell planetoid is filled with dark secrets and cloaked figures. It’s here Kit Ballard, aka Blade Kitten, works as one of the best bounty hunters in the business. Don’t let her pink hair fool you, Kit is part cat, part girl, and wholly lethal. She is one of the last of her species, having fled her homeland after the genocide of her people at the hands of the ancient and mystical race known as the Darques.” – Quote from Steam page

Got the key back? good, good. Because some monsters are waking up and you’re about to get eaten. While running, would you mind setting some people free? Funny how some seem to be willing to be taken away somewhere and only a few truly understand the situation and the danger those guys in red impose. And just like that you jump from a chapter to a chapter, one enemy to another and even get a plot twist or two. Or the implied plot twists that in truth were an absolute meaningless zero, actually…Kitten_blade_1_blackwood

The game is very much tongue-and-cheek from start to end, so there’s plenty of joking about, sarcasm and all that jazz. Some of it is even good. Yet in my opinion this strange little story that was sadly only partially interesting and only partially unique. And the worst part was the Mass-Effect effect. Two chapters in the greatest plot twists happens and your character moves on with a newly found ally, it seems. And that’s it. You get a prompting screen to go buy the next chapter for 4.99. And while everyone seems to still be spilling backlash on Mass Effect for selling off important fragments of the game as dlc’s – no one seems to mind buying the second chapter of an indie game. I understand the need to support an independent artist, especially with a decent game, no matter what I said before, but after the story was broken off like that – I feel a little… Disappointed. It wasn’t good enough for me to want the next chapter, that’s one, and now that I didn’t get the ending – I’m sorry, but unless there’s Steam Summer Sale – I probably won’t bother. It were good few hours of running, fighting, climbing on walls, collecting hex, luring monsters into destroying walls for me and fighting beasts in places where I shouldn’t have went, places where the only exit literally was dying, re-spawning and turning the other way. But that’s about it. A little loose story and mere running that you can do while half-asleep, since it takes a while for anyone to start talking again and no thinking is required to reach things or unlock doors.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like the game. I liked the mechanics, the fairly wide 2.5D world, beautiful anime style, a not-irritating soundtrack and all that. But it was streched a little more than just a little. In the end the mobs were just spawning non-stop to seemingly slow you down and my not-real-game-ocd nearly strangled me when I couldn’t bear any more to run forth and then back just to collect all the hex, since some were on the floor and some were on the ceiling. But that’s that, that’s all I can praise of this game. See how I told little to nothing of the story? It’s exactly that. Go there, do that. What for? Forget about it, go there, do that instead. Story is a bit messy, some parts seem pointless, others don’t connect together, end abruptly and completely and you are left with only a hope and a new monster to fight.

I can spare the game 2 out of 5, and 3 out of 5 for game mechanics. Pardon me, but I don’t intend on getting the next chapter. I might read the comic thou, since that one might have a more smooth story than this. And now, for the finals, have all the appropriate links if you still care to know more of this game. And sure, if you got nothing better to do, go on and wait for some sale and buy it. You’ll be done in a couple of hours and then you can come back and tell me what you thought of it yourself. Links under the trailer.

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Categories: games | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Anime] Black Lagoon [s1;s2] | Diabolik Lovers

revy-poster  Let’s start with Black Lagoon. First season doesn’t seem like much at the beginning. We find out, more or less, that Lagoon has a crew of three. The leader and captain – Dutch, who is a truly cool guy. Benny – the tech man who never gets enough airing time. And Revy, also known as “two-hands” for her weapon handling abilities. Let’s just say – Alucard would have stuff to talk about with this lady. All in all they’re delivery boys outside the law-border. They deliver guns, information and so on. But there’s an unwritten rule out there: if you can add unto your payment – do that. So when they were sent out to get a disk with very crucial information on it, they just grabbed the man who was with it together. Rokuro Okajima. They chose to call him simply Rock. Rock was a salaryman and Lagoon crew simply wanted some ransom for the dude. He has a clean reputation, this white-collar, so his boss might want to pay some… Nope.
Rock was soon ditched by his company and the next thing you know – he’s a delivery boy too, but this time – he’s fighting for his right under the Sun, where he wouldn’t have to kiss ass as much as he used to. It’s a very fun change that happens in many characters. Benny and Dutch were cool from start to end, so there’s nothing much with them, but, say, Revy, she was a drama queen, which disappointed me to madness. She was so cool, so good at what she did and yet she kept “blacking-out”, where she’d just turn cruel and completely dumb, throwing out such quotes as: “what do you know about me?”; “You don’t know what I went through”; “I fought for my survival”; etc. That gets fixed later on, so just bear with it, it’ll be real fun, promise!
All in all, we watch Lagoon do its job. A job after a job, nothing’s stretched out, but a job is not necessarily one-serie long, so you don’t get the rushed feeling either. Trust me, it’s hard for me to watch ANYTHING, so if I’m praising the way it was built up – it must be decent. And the jobs they got were fun. First they kicked neo-nazi ass, then met some nuns that’d fit Hellsing, and then there’s a maid Sebastian Michaelis would definitely hire to his crew at Phantomhive manor, and the asian lady (forgot her nationality) who spoke real funny and sliced things open like it’s a knife commercial. The season ends kind of abruptly, so I will give it 4 out of 5 only.

  Season Two of Black Lagoon… It starts with supernatural, or so it seems. Either way, the beginning thus might annoy, because it just seems like a whole different approach to the well loved standard of Lagoon. But one has to bear with it. In this season we see a little deeper into business Revy has with the nuns. And while series seem to be dragged out now a little more, they have a way to end each one like True Blood used to – on the best spot, to make sure you will indeed come back for more. And then there were these epic little bits we didn’t see in first season, like “bull-ride” Dutch is famous for.
This season definitely has less fun themes and is a hell load more dark and violent. Some crew members got reverted to less-cool types they were in their original forms, while others, like Balalaika, had their backgrounds covered and improved quite a bit. So all in all, this season gets 3 out of 5 from me. It’s worth watching them both, but if you didn’t like the first one much, second one isn’t necessary.

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Diabolik Lovers got on my watching list by purest accident. I was looking for something else, saw this, figured, meh, why not, drawing style looked decent. So I went ahead to watch it. The season has 12 series too + one “half-serie” of “so far…” stuff in it, I skipped that, I admit.
Story isn’t much fun and there are a lot of plot holes. It starts out with this girl, Yui, who gets driven to a manor where she will apparently be studying with the “elite kids”. I know what you’re thinking – ANOTHER ONE?! Yes, there are many of anime’s like that, but this isn’t that (and I just watched Princess Lover not that long ago. I guess one should in general avoid anime’s with “lover” in the title). She doesn’t have to fit in among the elite boys. She has to fit in among vampires who just want her blood. There’s this whole bunch of brothers and half-brothers that live in the manor and they’re all vampires, annoying, angry, differently, but still… Annoying and angry. It’s all very awkward and a bit gross. First serie in she gets licked and bitten and called things like “pancake” and “bitch-chan”, which sounds even worse when you hear it.
Thing is, this soon gets forgotten. Yui finds a diary in the manor, with her father’s picture in there. Two series in – forgotten. Boys tell her she got into the manor as “sacrifice” for them – forgotten. And there’s many things even I forgot on the long run too, because it was forgotten. Only one thing survived – their mother. She was this evil vampire who is now trying hard to re-awake, because her boys killed her. Do you know who’s going to be used for that? Yes. Yui. All that while boys drink her blood in buckets, with each bite making this strange sound you’d hear if you filled a hard-plastic bag with something goo-y and popped a thin-tip knife into.
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Yet it ended nicely, in my opinion. And not all of the boys were terribly annoying. Yui was most annoying though. She gets abused, verbally and physically and still stays there for whatever the heck her reasons were. Anyways, I’ll give the anime a 2.5 out of 5. Mostly because it was very short and the art style is to my liking. The weird eyes, the strange hair, the wallpaper patterns. And then there’s nice music in there too. Plus – one big plot twist. Only one. But big one.
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I need to write the stuff down

So many random little and big things happen daily and I just forget half of them before I got the time to write about it. There’s books, theatre, tv series, tea, birthday presents and all that jazz, including the last episode of “Free!“. Not to mention the video games. So lets make this very short and I’ll just go deeper onto these or those things later on in separate posts!

I don’t celebrate my b-day, even thought I was born just one day after the famous late j-artist Hide (Hideto Matsumoto). I love his music, so I like to think that birth day does matter thus. Maybe I’ll create something as wonderful too! Anyways, I tend to take out my birth date out of all the possible places just to avoid the “Congratulations!”. Why? Because the more people congratulate me, the more annoying things happen the day after. Nevertheless, some people know, some people remember and thus I still get the congratulations and even presents, which, lets face it, are always nice to receive. This year was a bit different for I was allowed to chose what I wanted in either a general area (book, game, item of sorts), or even something specific, so I spat to it all and went for it. I’ve got books and gorgeous notebooks, and true wax candles, and tea, of course! And first time ever I had too much home-made sushi, made by a friend who actually knows how to make sushi! But what about the day after? Yes. Sucked. But it’ll pass, as all passes in this world.

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Now, the video games. As you know, or maybe you don’t, Steam had a black-friday sale week-or-two. Around the time I bought Lovecraft book I mentioned two posts below, it all was happening and I spoiled myself a little bit. There were reasons for me to do so, worry not, I’m not a big-bad-waster. I already finished the “The incredible adventures of Van Helsing” once and will play it the second time around, for it was great. I’m half way through first Trine too, for a game that didn’t cost a full euro – heck, I did not expect so much awesomeness (and the same voice actress for a thief-rogue in there, as in DA2, the Isabela actress, I recognized her on the spot), second one coming up. And I began the “Dishonored“, which so far was pretty damn nice. Obviously the “Dracula: Origin” and “Dracula: Love Kills” were the first I bought and finished. I can’t help it, I want everything with Dracula in it. All of these games were on discounts of at least 75%, one below an euro. And no, I don’t feel anymore guilt over playing video games. They break the layer of chalk I get covered in while reading stuff other people wrote, and I can write my own stories more freely at the end of the day. So far it’s going pretty good!

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  I’ve also been drawing a lot with water colors. Trying to gain a level, sort of. I’m on a project, for a long time now, but I’ll make it good even if I have to paint a hundred pages every day. Beside the painting I finished the “Free!” anime. Ending was a little funny and dumb, but I’m okay with it. And then my evil friend spoke me into watching Sherlock (yes, the one with Benedict Cumberbatch). Evil of her to do so, for not only I’m an addict from the very first serie, I already have dreams of it too. It’s amazing. The first thing that struck me was how nicely it was made/filmed. The second thing that lured me was the voice of Cumberbatch. And then the mad geniuses, obviously. Everyone loves the smart ones, right? Everyone but the stupid ones, I think… Those feel offended when someone’s showing more light than they are.

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  Did I tell you that I watched Hamlet and Paganini plays? Lithuanian ones, Hamlet was amazing, all the little details, the expressiveness of the actors. Paganini had good singing voices, but side-roles lured me more than the main ones. I do love theatre…

Categories: Books: Everything, games, Treasures, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So much to do, so little time

Alright, quick update. I got three books to review here and I’ll do it soon. One was written by a friend (another friend I met because of the video games, so don’t tell me it’s a waste of time) and I’m very proud of being able to write a review on it. Later in month I also have a rather different play (theatre) to attend, so I’ll speak of that too. And there’s an art gallery open at the moment, by a local artist, so hopefully I’ll manage to get there before it’s closed too, for I wish to review the local fella too. Other than that thou, my b-day is coming up. I feel like groaning about it, but meh, what are b-days for us, right?

I still gave myself some presents tho. First I bought myself a video game I wanted, it was on sale at Steam, and I got it. Now I have all but one game of Dracula on Steam. Next goal – all the Dracula games on gog.com. I have no shame and I don’t regret anything. The other presents were of course books. Who would I be were I not surrounded by books and writings? So with a little bit encouragement from a friend, I got myself H.P. LovecraftClassic Horror Stories” (the father of horror and probably the godfather or at least the most favorite uncle of occult arts), and Dr Gregory L. ReeceCreatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons“, which could be either great or horrible. Both on discount, both came in just a few days, all thanks to BookDepository.

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Library for once made me happy. They found the Robert LoryDracula Returns” for me, for once. I was rather angry the first time, when the very same woman didn’t exactly know the classical Dracula book and rather gave me a blueprint of it. I mean, I didn’t mind getting a book I haven’t yet had in my claws, but come on, know the classics at least.

I’m also almost done with Haruki Murakami 1Q84 trilogy. So far I find it a little bit too expanded, but good. I’ll breath lighter when I’m done with him tho. There’s just something in those books. And I’ve watched a couple of movies, one worth mentioning. Funny thing tho, I haven’t yet watched the last episode of “Free!” anime. I’m not sure why, it just seems that if I don’t – it’ll never end, even if I won’t see anything of it again anyways.

This is exactly how I spend my days – I write, I translate and I read. Then at night I play a video game, get to bed and read some more, or watch a serie of anime or anything. In the morning waking up isn’t the nicest activity, but as soon as I do – all goes well enough. I make a half-hour of exercise, write down my notes on what I’ve done so far and what I should do and continue the day with short breaks to chat with friends, delve into Tumblr or even draw something. And I made some good stuff, drop an eye there: DeviantArt.

Categories: About Msg2TheMing, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, games, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading list and such

No, I’m not going to bother you on what I intend to read. I will bother you on what I’ve read since the last time I spoke of what I’ve read! Six books, worry not, not that much. But first things first – I think I’m good now, nose slightly runny, but nothing bad anymore. No fever, no cough, no uncontrollable sneezes. Being sick means you almost can’t read, for letters jump around, swim around, wave at you and such, so I tidied up my crafting supplies, now it’s all so nice and smooth and… and nice. But lets get back to the books now, shall we?

First would be Haruki Murakami “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”. “End” as in “last part of it”, not as “the last seconds of it”. As is usual with Murakami – through first hundred pages – it’s slow to the point where you start scanning the page, rather than read it. All the food making, hooking up with a woman protagonist met hell knows in what weird place (place is not weird, weird is that there he finds someone to hit on) and all the details of the clothing. But afterwards – you just hold the f on, for it’s a ride to remember. This book is made out of intertwined stories with same protagonist, but different settings. One world affects the other, but the one that has more effect – was created by the other one, so to say. So, in this “Wonderland”, there’s an Information War going on. Protagonist is some sort of a mnemonic or other crazy man, he can code up your information so hard – no one will ever get to it. But everyone still tries, especially those who oppose the System and wants the information, for Black Market always craves it, right? Right. And then BOOM! Monsters, ancient divine shrines, the oddest people you could think of, and the nice Murakami’s view to school – it’s not for everyone, some need different ways and it’s those who have the most potential to become something better than just an average. I like it very much in his writings. Also, you never really see his monsters, but you always are led to the point where you actually fear them. At the same time protagonist is being hunted by both sides of the Information War and the monsters, and who knows what else, the End of the World is seeing it’s winter. There are unicorns there, and a Forest, much alike the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter, for everyone knows you should not enter it, for it’s a scary, very scary place. This part very much reminded me of Max Fraj books “Echo Labyrinths“. They’re amazing, if you ever get your hands on them and if you know Murakami – you take those, you do take those.

Second book would be by Junichiro Tanizaki “A Cat, a Man and two Women”. I’d say it’s a book about an european kitty-cat. The jerk-piece of a man loves the cat to death (not literally), so much, in fact, that the meals of the family are prepared according to what cat might like and what could be good for the missy called Lilly. He had a wife, a good woman who, on her fragile shoulders held all their household, while his lazy arse played with the cat. And I know very rare male examples who wouldn’t start hating a woman who is… Like this. Even if she pointed not the very fact that he’s a lazy arse… So naturally, he ditched the woman, pretending he only listened to his mother’s advice, who also hated the woman, and married his rich cousin. Sadly, this lady here is a vicious woman and just as lazy. But rich. And all the fun begins when the Ex-Wife writes her a letter, warning her, as if nothing, to watch his love for the cat, for it might be so, that he loves Lilly more than either of the women. Hell breaks loose here. It would be a fun book were it not as it is. But it’s short, so it won’t bore you anyways. And cat lovers might enjoy it, for everyone, in the end, loves the cat the most.

The more I think, the more I believe that third book should sit among my favorites. It’s Koji Suzuki “Ring”. Oh yes, Ringu. Half way through the book I understood that I haven’t seen a single movie on it, but I’ll change that soon. Japanese make extremely good horrors. Books are no exception. And it’s a strange one too. For instance, you get your dose at the beginning, very first ten pages, boom, terror, purest, rawest terror shown. Then there’s a bit of this, a bit of that and right before you start thinking you might get bored – Beat the Clock begins. Will you live? Will you die? And why is that? For the protagonist watches the VHS tape with seemingly random bits (they aren’t random, they all have meaning) and in the end it says he’ll die in seven days, unless…. Unless what?! The teenagers who watched it before him, the very first four victims of Sadako, on purpose, believing it not, recorded a commercial on the part where the counter-spell was given, to avoid the death. Seven days. Clock ticking. Where to start? Who could help? It’s a fascinating story on a fascinating person, with fascinating powers. I will, with no doubt, read other books too, for ending was again scary, but completely open, the only thing lacking was “to be continued” there, if you follow.

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  Thus my craving for horror was satisfied for the time being and we may go on. Fourth on the list is Jacqueline Kelly “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate”. Now that’s a sweet book of how a girl doesn’t have to be a tomboy and still be smart, and how she doesn’t have to be a skilled cook who sees a priority in finding a good man, but not a good education (yes, this is aimed at you, Mina Harker). Calpurnia is a young miss, the only girl among a horde of brothers in a big house where her father, mother, a couple of servants and her grandfather live. The grandfather is Captain Tate and he’s a known eccentric. All the kids fear him, for some reason, but Calpurnia copes her courage up, for her grandfather has a library, and she wants to read. All in all, they befriend each other and it’s just the sweetest thing. I had no one to tell me I can be who I want when I was a kid, and with only luck smiling to me – I understood that myself and took a book, after a book, out of my own pocket money and occasional gifts. If you people have daughters who are not yet in their mid-teens – get them this book, encourage them to read and just hope they have it in them. I guess boys don’t read books where main hero is a girl? Shame. (But I dare blame the parent for that, not the kid.)

  Fifth book you see is Alexandre Dumas “One Thousand and One Ghosts”, which, in my library, had another one attached to it, called “Salteodor“, which translates as “The Gentleman of the Mountain“, or something similar. But first book first. Few men and one tiny fragile little lady meet for dinner and start telling each other what dead people talked to them. One spoke with a head after beheading, the other saw a corpse attempt to hang a person. Nothing fancy, nothing scary either. Right up until the lady spoke, for she spun a tale of Carpathian Mountains and a vampire there.  And if it’s not the first post of mine you read – you then know that I do love the vampires from Carpathian Mountains. This wasn’t too interesting, defeated with holy stuff and such, but he took a bite out of what he claimed as his before dying. Interesting character. Worst of all was his mother, tho…

  Second book in this same one, “The Gentleman of the Mountain” was more interesting, even thou I did not wish to read it, it was not on my list and I received it by accident, when wishing only the ghost story. Pretty much it’s one of those stories where the thief turns out to be the prince, and the noble missy he fell in love with – his sister, so he must marry the “second runner” to her. It was still rather interesting, whole that blood calling was shown in this odd saturated color, I never read such before. I mean, the blood call, parent to son, the son felt more respect to his true father while not knowing he’s his father, than to the man who he thought is his father.

  And the last, sixth book is M. G. Harris “The Joshua Files #1: Invisible City”. Again I’ll say, would I be thirteen now, not twenty three, this would be my bible. Joshua is training in martial arts, is Brittish, speaks Spanish, his father is an archaeologist and he goes right onto an adventure I’d like to get on. This was all I wanted and all I cared when I was thirteen. Sadly, for many, many reasons… Anyways, it was still a good read, especially with that thought in mind. And Joshua being what, thirteen himself, I believe he was portrayed rather great. I mean, he’s a teen who is still a kid, not the teen who is already an adult. Say, he comments that his martial arts are “flirting with the death”, which would seem unusual for the boy who later cried, for he slept through his bus stop. But together added it seemed to be very correct. Heck, I guess I would’ve cried too! Somehow everything seems to have more impact, when you’re still a kid. Anyways, back to the book! Joshua’s father is killed while on quest to find some sort of an artifact of Mayans. One thing bugged me – either I skipped something, of they absolutely forgot about the piece his father stole from them, which they, Mayans, said is very, very important and needs to be returned. But book ended and not a word was said on it after Joshua found the artifact, which was a book, by the way, naturally, right? Many things happened, he turned out to be this… Something like a high-priest or who the hell, of Mayan society, who live in this Invisible City. They have technologies surpassing ours at many points. So Joshua took a ride in their airplane equivalent, met his wife, not knowing she should be his wife, nearly got killed several times, had fortune almost told by a bruja (no, not the vampire clan brujah, but bruja – witch), and so much more. It was a fun read, if not in my age category. Usually I like books for younger people, like Tunnel series, but this one lacks the charm. Still, I’ll take the other books too, thank you very much.

  After so much talk on books, lets get to the things I watched. And I watched many things, like Byzantine, which was a good movie with no-fun vampires (they got no fangs, they grow a sharp nail like a fang (it pops out, you don’t need to physically wait for it to grow through months and months), pierce you with it and then suck upon it), then there was the Frankenstein Army, which was just dumb and not worth the time of the day (nazi made bionics and mutants), then there was Skeleton Key, which was nice, for it showed Louisiana with all it’s Voodoo-Hoodoo stuff boiling hard, I liked it a lot. And I guess I watched many more movies, like Repo Men and stuff. But I’ll only speak of one anime I finished and one I started.

  The one I finished is called “Princess Lover“, and hell knows who or why made it. Pretty much, this Arima Tepei gets into a prestige school, where only the highest elite and royalty is studying on blackwood tables, with a city-sized parks all around. One girl after another falls in love with this awkward guy who may not be the brightest, but is kind-hearted, so to say. This was very much not my cup of tea and I cringed at every scene where someone fell onto someone and suddenly ended up in a sex position (last series actually had something sex-related, so it’s not for young people. Breasts and a lot of them). The only bright thing I can say on this is that it very, very, very lightly reminded me of  Eden of the East, which was pretty damn great. This  – isn’t.

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  And the one I just started and watched barely two episodes is called “Free!“, yes, swimclub and a lot of muscles on very lean bodies, so that your eyes wouldn’t get poked out. Many would say “nah, that’s not the thing I like, anime on sports”. But it’s more than that. It’s always more than that. I watched my share of anime’s on sports, for some reasons I used to liked them plenty, I watched Football Superstar, and Speed Racer (if it’s an anime), and Milla (forgot the title, it’s about volleyball). This anime is drawn really nice, and it has these fun characters, like the sister of the evil looking guy, who for some reason left his friends after he lost ONE race and is now pissed ever since. And then there’s these two boys who can barely compete. And this one guy who is probably better than the evil guy, but is all sad that he hurt his friend and stuff. Anyways! All boys have girly names and the only girl has a boyish name. It’s fun for no reason and many at the same time. Say, one of them tends to try swimming in every bit of water, including fish tanks.

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Categories: Books: Everything | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The One who never leaves me

Funny thing, to say “Dracula never leaves my side“, but it’s quite accurate, trust me. Pretty much, whenever I reach an edge in my life or a crossroad, which is just as devastating sometimes, I end up with a book on Dracula in my lap. It happened just enough times for me to take it into consideration and begin collecting books on him. And I don’t speak of Dracula the Vampire, tho that one’s good too, but most of all, I speak of Vlad the Impaler, Draculea.

Some books I’ve gotten before I had to decide which path to take in the Crossroad of Life (sadly, no demon to make a deal with, but hey… Maybe I’m wrong, now that I think of it…), but right on the decision making time – I’d remember an important thing from the previous book. Bear with me, this’ll be a long tale to spin.

I believe the first book purely dedicated to the man as half-fiction that I laid my hands on (beside little things, lets just count the stuff that has over a 100 pages, okay?) was Elizabeth Kostova “The Historian”. Funny, how in our language this title took upon a female form, while within the book, the only person to claim the title is a man. If we could call him a man still. Dracula, in this book, is sought and seeked by a young missy, daughter of a historian. She follows her father’s footsteps, who followed Dracula’s coffin, so to say. Until they bumped into each other. It appeared there that Dracula finds it amusing how people write books about him and collects them, much as I do now. It’s an interesting book, more so because it describes wonderful and inspiring things one would like to follow as the characters did. To add to that it contains some true facts on Vlad, tho he’s constantly called “Vlad Tepes” and “Dracula” is only said to be a “nickname” which means “Son of the Dragon / Son of the Devil”. Which is a bit redundant when you think on it, for Tepes (or Tsepesh) means “Impaler”, literally. And Dracul was his father’s, Vlad II Dracul name. They, as son’s of the Dragons became “Draculea” (book says: Draculya), and that -ea means they’re a son of the <word before -ea>. Author dug so deep, and yet not deep enough to figure his name. It’s just that strange to me. But anyways, how did this book help me? I don’t remember when or how I bought it, but I enjoyed the size of it, as I have a hard time to put the book away. But I remember the firm need to make a decision in my life – what would I want and COULD be (for I’d absolutely like to be an astronaut, but with my data that won’t happen anytime soon. Unless science is kind and quick…). I tried to shuffle things in my head, to rely on this one thing I could do with love – read. And so it struck me. Historian. Later in life it evolved and now I am a freelance translator, for history is all written and the more I read – the happier I am, even if not all things I receive in my hands are history.

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  The next book is by far, the most important and valued by me no matter the help “The Historian” provided me with. It’s the C.C. Humphreys “Vlad: The Last Confession”. It’s a historical romance with no vampires in it, yet when you look upon that boy who broke once and made the name “Prince Impaler” cause shudder in every person with consciousness unclean, and then the man who broke the second time and silently finish what had to be finished exactly the way it should have been… Pretty much, it’s Vlad’s story told by three people who followed him in life. Remember, that history is written by victors, so many things are very loosely based on any documents remaining. He was given to Ottoman together with his brother, Radu the Fair to be political prisoners and a living promise that their father will not act against the Sultain. Thing is (was), their older brother, Mircea, wasn’t so sure it wasn’t worth it. In the end, Vlad’s view to the world and enemy shifted, bit by bit. And if you ever saw a stack of books slowly shift sideways – you know that there comes a time when it all falls down and turns into a chaos. Vlad was sent to Tokat, a known school and prison of Torturers and Tortured. Simple – inflict or have inflicted. And they know how to cause you pain for you to start fearing any more of it. They’ll remind you hour after hours – you will not die. You will suffer, and suffer and suffer more. This was the first. Of the second I will not speak, for it gets amazing soon after. So much, in fact, that I couldn’t understand why I didn’t read it sooner.

  I bought it when I felt crushed and saw no reason to go on further. I was in a mess which wasn’t even mine, yet had to either help fix it, or fall with it. I bought it with many other books, but it was the only book I truly wanted and continued thinking of it. Maybe that was the reason I didn’t read it so long. For two years, I think, I just held it, fearing that if I start – it will end. And it did, but so well that I am pleased and most happy with it. Mr. Humphreys, if this ever reaches your eyes – know that not only Your work is loved – it most likely saved a person.
P.S. – it was the first time for me in the UK and as you’ll later see, it’s from there where Dracula reaches me the most often or with most impact.

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  Inspired by the CC.H. book as much as I was, finally I came upon Bram Stoker “Dracula”. it was then that I figured that in our library reside morons who don’t even know the classics. One woman comes to work slightly drunk now and again, the other can’t point you to the book, the third one will tell you it’s THE book when you KNOW it’s not the book. So first I’ve read “The Guest of Dracula”, and just then received the Dracula. Right now I own three versions, two Lithuanian, first edition and second re-print, and an English one. On this one we shall speak now. Chronologically it’s incorrect to be talking of it now, but as I began and don’t feel like talking on same book twice, I shall speak of it anyways. Pretty much, first one I received when I found it by accident myself in the same named library where no one knew what this book even is, apparently. I found it, and few weeks later – bought my own copy of it. Few months later, a friend and a vampirologist sold me her second print copy, as she was about to move to the city of vampires – New Orleans, Louisiana. Third copy, the English one, I tried obtaining when I was second time in UK. This time I felt a bit better, but I was determined to get my share of Vlad Dracula this time, for I already heard those bells toll. Thing is – I didn’t find one. I went to second-hand book store, where my not-so-smart brain told me to look in first and they didn’t have one. I bought Frankenstein tho. And months later, sister bought me an AMAZING copy. And here’s why I think that one was meant for me too, sorta – another reach out towards me: me and sister… Well, we’re not friends. We get along just about enough to bury the war axe when she’s not doing something stupid and she does care for me, but then she does something stupid and I can’t contain the anger and spill it drowning everything like the poor Pompeii. She told me right away that she has Dracula for me, and as we were on good terms – I was happy. Even happier when she said that the cover is strange and scared her shitless when she saw it suddenly reflect a ray of light in the dark… I’m glad the Prince doesn’t like her much either.  (And, again, it reached me from UK)

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  Another book that got into my hands from UK was Kim Newman “Anno Dracula”. Funny thing, how I seeked terribly and only chance dropped it into my hands. As if there was only one purpose for the lad who was with me there, only one reason to be – to go on and find me a Dracula’s book. Next two I bought myself. Second one is “Bloody Red Baron” and the third “Dracula Cha Cha Cha“. Fourth is “Johnny Alucard“, but at the very moment I don’t feel like having it, for reasons that happen in third book. Never the less – these books are amazing. First of all, they’re with this hard Steampunk vibe. Second – it contains so many other characters from real life that I was mesmerized. Third – Dracula introduced me to E.A. Poe and I regret NOTHING. And mr. Poe in return drew the most beautiful picture of Dracula. These books opened a whole new doors for me in literature and remembering another book I’ll tell you more of further on, you could say this one who never leaves me is even attempting to tutor me and educate when it comes to literature. Good, I’ll take it.

  These three books are full of mad scientists, vampires on every corner, nobility and royalty from middle-ages and even before that who don’t know what to do with this New World and so on. One thing never changes tho. Vlad Dracula still loves his warfare toys.

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  The other book was lent to me by the same friend who gave me her copy of Dracula. It was first time I ever read this type of a book. What type? Well, one of those we could call “secret and true journal of Mina Harker“. Syrie James “Dracula, My Love” is the book and out of the two that I’ve read of such books, this one is by far the superior. More or less, it’s Mina telling the story, of how it was and who this “monster” really was. Boo for me – this isn’t Vlad Dracula she speaks of, but I just threw away the name “Nikolay” he gave her, for he’s a bit of a liar when it’s for the sake of keeping somewhat of a peace that would please him better, and decided to forget he claimed not to be Vlad the Impaler. Now, why is this book good and why I consider important as a “reach out”? For Dracula gives one damn good point to Mina there we all, no matter gender, age, nationality, race, religion etc can use. He asked her – why do you care what strangers think of you? You see them once and never again. And you are you forever. Pretty much, he asked her to go take a boat to swim around the lake or river or what it was with him. Naturally, she went all wobbly – no no, what will people think, me, unmarried and without anyone else, going swimming with another man, a stranger to that. He was taken aback by that – the hell? It seemed… Interesting. To wonder of why would one really take it into consideration the opinion of complete strangers who neither know you, nor you them. So I consider this book a win.

  Oh, and the story of it, as I said, it’s the Stoker’s Dracula from Mina’s perspective in depth. The journal Stoker put as “her part of the story” is false, so to say. It’s an interesting romance. Even more so as Mina’s child turned out to be very alike this stranger…

  And let me right away get to the second this type of the book, a book by Karen Essex “Dracula in Love”. Let me tell you right away, were Dracula here – James, and Mina – Katty – this would be a great, simple supernatural romance book with just about everything in it. But instead our dear author, who claimed it to be nearly supernatural, how she first wrote the book, then checked the facts and found out that few things she made up – actually happened (sadly I am left to wonder a lot which ones), decided to ride the Dracula’s horse (don’t get any funny ideas here) of fame. While in a sense this book is good, as a vampire book that has Dracula in it – it’s very bad it made me think of Twilight. Now, I’m not saying either Dracula or Cullen’s a fairy. I’m saying their relation with them sucks badly. Yet this book is still in my shelf and will go no where from there. Why? Lets return to Historian – it evolved as far as me becoming this freelance translator, and this book, this “Dracula in Love” was my first paycheck as translator purchase. I decided I have to give the toll and I don’t regret it, even if the book is no where near my favorites.

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  Now, in UK when I was looking for Dracula’s book by Stoker, I didn’t get away empty handed (beside Kim Newman’s “Anno Dracula” and Frankenstein). I found something else, something I didn’t know existed. Later it turned out – I did know, I just forgot completely. It’s the another “sequel of Dracula”, this time claiming the title “official”, for author is somewhat Stoker-related. It’s Dracre Stoker “Dracula: The Un-Dead”. And you know what? I haven’t read it yet. I think I’ll keep it for a little while more, just to have something.

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  Naturally, these are only the books that are truly on Dracula the Vampire or Vlad the Impaler. I got plenty more that either mention him or quote him as a character or person who was and/or is. Like Victor Pelevin “Empire V” (quoted), or Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams “Tunnels” series where he’s mentioned in one book as a man who existed and fought the same enemy people in those books now have to fight. Or even a couple of Charlaine Harris books on Sookie Stackhouse, last one, where Sookie contemplates being Dracula’s Bride to Eric Northman, and the short-stories collection, where Eric desperately waits Dracula to show up, for his birthday is as revered by vampires there as, say, New Years and Christmas to us, for before Dracula – vampires wore rags and lives in holes underground. But Vlad Draculea was a prince, so there was no question of him sleeping in dirt, when there were soft beds and silks…  Or even that one sentence in Mary Crow Dog’s “Lakota Women”, where she claimed that Bavaria sounded to her like some Dracula’s country, for she knew nothing of it. Or Philip K. Dick “A Scanner Darkly” with also but one sentence “counts Draculas are sleeping”. And even Richard Matheson “I am Legend”, that one line where Robert reads “Dracula”. I also own four volumes of Kohta Hirano “Hellsing” (and intend to get the rest), and two volumes of Hideyuki Kikuchi “Vampire Hunter D”. Why all this obsession? Because it helped me when I most needed the help. And taught me those basic things I didn’t know. And so in return I can at least keep track of it all, can’t I?

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