Hyuga and Kiyoshi. . . Are On My Mind!

Hyuga, Kiyoshi, Aida

So I’m watching Kuroko’s Basketball again (don’t judge me!). The first time around I was all about my favorite blue-haired boy, Kuroko, but this time I can spend more time on other characters, including the dynamic duo of Hyuga Junpei and Kiyoshi Teppei. While their relationship is not exactly Tom and Jerry, it is definitely based on a strange dynamic. Hyuga loves remind Kiyoshi that he hates him, but he usually has to put that to the side to win a basketball game. It tickles me how long it takes Hyuga to high-five Kiyoshi after a successful play. I forgot how much I enjoyed watching their friendship develop, almost as much as I enjoyed Hyuga getting rid of his blond hair.

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This brief lapse of posts has been brought to you by HARD DRIVE FAILURE. HARD DRIVE FAILURE has a long and distinguished tradition of bringing creative expression to a complete halt and is proud of that. It has cornered the market. However, I no longer find my partnership with HARD DRIVE FAILURE to be beneficial, so I will have to terminate this relationship. Let the posts resume!

They Are Not Cheerleaders: Female Characters in Haikyuu!! and Kuroko’s Basketball

While you might assume that sports anime series like Haikyuu!! and Kuroko’s Basketball might relegate its female characters to the sidelines, they do a remarkable job of making them smart, relevant to the story and characters in their own right.

Continue reading “They Are Not Cheerleaders: Female Characters in Haikyuu!! and Kuroko’s Basketball”

Amoeba Culture. . . Is On My Mind!

amoebaculturetourOnce I processed (ok, I’m still processing) the news of Zion T.’s departure from Amoeba Culture to a sub-label at YG headed by Teddy, I’m also thinking about Amoeba Culture. This doesn’t seem to be an acrimonious split, and I was happy to see Amoeba Culture’s official statement, which acknowledges their previous relationship:  “During that time Amoeba Culture and Zion. T had a relationship beyond simply being just an agency and an agency artist. We relied on each other, made good music, and spent happy moments together. Thus we feel sorry and regret” (soompi). At the same time, the label wishes him well: “Although we cannot be in the same place together, Amoeba Culture will always support Zion. T’s new challenge as he enters a new environment and unfamiliar field in order to fulfill his dreams” (soompi). I”m concerned about Amoeba Culture and their roster. I have loved Amoeba Culture artists, but with Zion T. leaving, I feel like Amoeba Culture needs more talent, which isn’t easy because talent doesn’t work on trees. I hope that it can continue to operate as an artist-led label.

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kokoberry, “Zion. T Parts Ways With Amoeba Culture, Reportedly Signs With YG Sub-Label.” soompi. 16 Mar 2016.


Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young. . . Is On My Mind!

Jin Goo, Descendants of the Sun
Jin Goo, Descendants of the Sun

Don’t get me wrong, I see you, “Big Boss” Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) right there, but his sidekick Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo) is no slouch in Descendants of the Sun! Even though those brooding good looks may suggest that he’s an aloof loner, he’s actually great friends with Shi Jin. They seem to be good colleagues: going on special ops missions, hanging out with their respective stuffed animal dates at the coffee shop (for the record, I think Dae Young’s is cuter!), saving the youth from a life of crime. But it’s Dae Young’s constant deadpan expression that cracks me up (and Shi Jin always goes along with it!). He is also a loyal friend, always having Shi Jin’s back.

EXO in LA!: A Report from Loge 10


As a K-pop fan in the United States, I’m always excited to see my beloved K-pop live. The EXO show in Los Angeles on February 14, 2016 was no exception. Having seen EXO “grow up” from those 23 teaser trailers to Sing for You, I was looking forward to the show very much! Let us never forget the epic backstory behind EXO’s concept, beginning when “the twelve forces reunite into one perfect root” to the current unknown EXO planet!

Continue reading “EXO in LA!: A Report from Loge 10”

The Sons of Yi Seong Gye. . . Are On My Mind!

Six Flying Dragons
Six Flying Dragons

Six Flying Dragons keeps our attention on the shenanigans of Yi Bang Won (Yoo Ah In) and his buddies as they run around Goryeo trying to start a revolution, but let’s not sleep on Yi Seong Gye‘s other sons, Yi Bang Gwa (Seo Dong Won) and Yi Bang Woo (Lee Seung Hyo). Unlike their carefree brother, they are both members of their father’s army. Prior to the action of the K-drama, they probably spent most of their time hanging out on the battleground. However, they are no slouches. Have you ever noticed that Bang Gwa is always on “enhanced interrogation” duty? And Bang Woo can be counted on to support the wacky plans of his younger brother, even when they directly contradict his father’s wishes. But nothing shows how fantastic these sons of Yi are than when evil forces contain them (“for their protection”) while Papa Yi is forced to fight a battle he is sure to lose and that will harm the people. They both look at each other as if to say, “We’ll go along…..for now.” Of course when the order comes down to execute them, they have this look on their faces that say, “Don’t you know who we are? We are Yi’s sons! We are not going out like that!” Beatdown ensues. Even when the odds are against them, as in the ill-fated dinner at Jo Min Soo’s house, they are not going down with a fight! What good sons!

Redefining Heroism in World Trigger and Kuroko’s Basketball

We often think of heroes as being physically strong, but anime series like World Trigger and Kuroko’s Bastketball make us rethink what it means to be hero. While both lead characters are characterized as physically weak, they remain central to the action and make selflessness the new heroic standard.

Continue reading “Redefining Heroism in World Trigger and Kuroko’s Basketball”

My Favoritest Favorite. . . Songs By Bias K-pop Groups!

I like a lot of K-pop groups (a LOT…of K-pop groups), but I have four bias groups (SS501, Shinhwa, SHINee and Super Junior), my favoritest favorites. I looked at my iTunes to see which songs by my bias groups I played the most. I was surprised!

Continue reading “My Favoritest Favorite. . . Songs By Bias K-pop Groups!”

In Wuxia, Princess is Not a Bad Word: Nirvana in Fire

Nihuang, Nirvana in Fire
Nihuang, Nirvana in Fire

Many people equate princess culture with Disney, but the princesses in wuxia popular culture defy those expectations. The Chinese drama Nirvana in Fire counters mainstream princess culture by drawing from the tradition of strong women in wuxia.

Continue reading “In Wuxia, Princess is Not a Bad Word: Nirvana in Fire”

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Half the Characters of Nirvana in Fire. . . Are On My Mind!

Nirvana on Fire

I decided to take it back to my Chinese drama roots and start watching Nirvana in Fire. I knew that Hu Ge would be in the lead role as Mei Changsu / Su Zhe / Lin Shu, but quickly became excited about the other characters. First, there is Lin Chen (Jin Dong), master martial artist/archivist of Langya Hall. I do love a man in white robes and a fan!  Then, there is the ever-petulant Liu Fei (Wu Lei), but honestly, dude does a good job as a bodyguard. NOBODY is going to touch Mei Changsu while Liu Fei’s on watch! Imagine my surprise when I discovered Meng Zhi, who is played by Chen Long and was also the lead in one of my favorite Chinese dramas, Patriotic Knights.  There is no shortage of strong women. I’ve always liked how nobody bats an eye at women generals like Nihuang (Liu Tao) or heads of investigative bureaus like Xia Dong (Zhang Lin Xin). Palace intrigue, politics and vengeance are the order of the day in Nirvana in Fire!

Yi Bang Won. . . Is On My Mind!

Yoo Ah In as Yi Bang Won, Six Flying Dragons
Yoo Ah In as Yi Bang Won, Six Flying Dragons

Every king has to start somewhere, and while Yi Bang Won (Yoo Ah In) is knee-deep in the foundations of the revolution in Six Flying Dragons, he makes time to give attention to his love life. I have to say I’m liking his criteria for women. Basically, it’s. . . “You see that girl over there? Yes, the one who burned down the Magistrate’s office. YES, the one who just stole my shirt. Yes, that one who keeps biting me. THAT’s my girl!” Completely oblivious to the fact that they are separated by class, Bang Won likes Boon Yi because she is strong and not down for the status quo.  She’s clever and cute, and clearly Bang Won appreciates her, even when she’s rejecting him!

Masaharu Fukuyama. . . . Is On My Mind!

Masaharu Fukuyama

That moment when you realize that the guy you liked in that J-drama you flew through is the guy you like in that J-drama you are nowhere near finishing. I really liked Masaharu Fukuyama in Galileo: his lack of a sense of humor, his crazy hobbies, his quirky way of solving crimes. I don’t know physics professors who roll like that, tho. I kinda thought I had seen him in something else, but couldn’t remember. Then, it hit me! He is in Ryomaden! I guess it’s time to dust off the samurai sword!