Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hayate Reflections: My Impressions of Tonikaku Kawaii

Just finished catching up with all the currently scanlated chapters of Hata’s new manga, Tonikaku Kawaii. It’s now up to volume 3, so if you feel like supporting the author of Hayate no Gotoku!, go ahead and order the manga online through your favourite hobby supply store.

Anyway, this week, I’d like to talk about my general impressions of Tonikaku Kawaii in relation to Hayate no Gotoku!

First of all, I must say that it’s a nice change of pace. There’s the fact that the romantic relationship between Nasa and Tsukasa is established from the very beginning and that no misunderstanding exists between them. The only real mystery is Tsukasa’s true identity and/or what she really is because there are hints that she might actually be thousands of years old. However, as to the two main character’s feelings for each other, it’s established from the start that there is romantic attraction between them, although at this point, I wouldn’t call it love yet. Actually, what they both admit is that they find each other cute – as per the title of the manga.

Nasa himself makes a good point about this. In his own words: “I didn’t marry her because I proved my love. I married her to prove my love.”

He has done a lot to try and prove his love for Tsukasa so far, but at this point, while the couple’s feelings for each other have not been really put to the test, I’d say they’re still a step behind what Nagi and Hayate had for each other at the end of Hayate no Gotoku! It’s not about how many dates they’ve been on, or a matter of how many romantic moments they’ve hard with each other. If an author’s idea of love is that it is to be counted based on quantifying the number of romantic moments that two people have had with one another, then I would stop reading anything ever made by that author – fortunately, Hata is not like that – at least based on my personal perception.

The fact of the matter is that the feelings that bound Hayate and Nagi was put to the test time and time again and at the end of the series, that bond was alive and stronger than it had ever been – that much, not even haters should deny – but they will.

Anyway, moving on, so far Tonikaku Kawaii is definitely a much lighter story to read than Hayate ever was. This is because there is no looming “bomb between them” that threatens to end in tears. With Hayate and Nagi, the misunderstanding between them was established from the very start, and then Hata kept on adding one complication after another into the plot – some of which were never resolved, but most of them, just adding on to that feeling of dread that either Hayate or Nagi would be seriously hurt once the big revelation came about – as it did in the final arc of the manga.

In the case of Tonikaku Kawaii, it seems that Hata took a route that can be pretty much seen as an antithesis to Hayate. First of all, the couple are already married and romantically involved with each other from the start. Secondly, any complications that try to set them apart get resolved almost instantly. There’s Nasa’s neighbour who had a crush on him and was quite dense and thought that Tsukasa was just his relative and that’s why she had the same family name as him. However, in the most recent chapters, she found out that they were married and her moment of heartbreak lasted for about one page. Nasa’s parents already accept Tsukasa and are very glad that their son chose to marry the person who saved his life. Quite the opposite of Hayate’s good for nothing parents. Finally, there’s Tsukasa’s non-blood-related younger sister who was concocting one scheme after another to get them to break up, but in the latest chapters, Nasa used his first-class communication skills (and sincere feelings for Tsukasa) to get her to accept him – possible complication solved.

If you were reading Hayate and got super frustrated by all the complications that Hata threw into the plot just to prevent Hayate and Nagi from getting together, then you’ll find that Tonikaku Kawaii is a breath of fresh air that presents the reader with a lot of similar situations, but which are resolved in a way that just makes you feel good. If Hayate no Gotoku was about building up anxiety under the façade of comedy, then Tonikaku Kawaii is the true definition of comedy, one that gives you a good laugh and also has you rooting for the main couple as they prove their love for each other no matter what complications may come their way – at least for now.

Anyway, this has been Hayate Reflections and this is lordcloudx out.

Fanart Corner

It's Halloween month, so have a dark angel Nagi. Inspiration for this piece came from the video for Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love." Look it up on youtube and you'll see what I mean.

Bento Picasso Watercolors used.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Prince's Bride Chapter 5: The Knight of Red and White

It had now been quite some time since the beautiful prince entered the Forest of Lies. 

There were rows upon rows of tall trees whose branches filled the sky. What is more, the scenery seemed to look all the same after a little while. Still, with one goal in his mind, the prince kept riding straight forward without even batting an eye.
But even so, even with his strong desire to be reunited with his would-be bride. Even the resilient prince soon grew tired.

“How long does this go on? This Forest of Lies?  I have already been travelling for miles upon miles!”

He shouted out to the branch-filled sky, but only the echoes of his voice came back in reply. Soon, even his trusty steed, could no longer sustain its powerful strides. It slowed down to a walk, it was obviously quite tired. The prince dismounted from his noble ride.
“Old friend, you’ve been with me through all this time. Take a rest for a little while.”
A contented snort came back in response from the horse with fur of black slashes on pure white. The journey had been a long one and its eyes were beginning to shut tight.

“Still, I will not leave you here to die. Not inside this cursed forest of lies… so my friend, rest for a while – and when you have recovered, will you at least walk by my side?”

And with one last snort, the horse keeled over on its side. Within its once fiery eyes, the light had finally died.
“I’m sorry, my friend. If only I had not pushed you to make this long and tiring ride… and yet, if I can’t find my way out, then perhaps this forest will also be my demise.”
“Move, move, move, I say! If you don’t get out of the way, then you won’t even make it through this day!”
Suddenly, a lithe figure with a reddish cape, clad in chain mail of red and white, fell from the sky from such a great height.
The prince jumped up several feet high, and snatched the falling figure from right out of the sky.

“I daresay, miss… are you okay?”
“Huh? Oh? You saved me? I didn’t expect things to turn out this way. Still, I must thank you, stranger – and yes, I’m okay.”
The prince put her down on solid ground. The fallen knight looked all around, but her face was invisible – clad in helmet all around.
“What were you doing at such a great height anyway?”

“Ahem… well, it’s a rather embarrassing story, must I really say?”

The knight hesitated for a moment and she started fidgeting every which way.

“Sigh… I was trying to find my bearings, so I climbed up to one of those branches sky –high. It was to find my bearings, if you need to know why! Anyway, when I finally reached top, it suddenly dawned on me – why did I ever climb so high up?”
The knight hesitated again and fidgeted every which way, it seems she was really embarrassed by the next thing she had to say.

She pointed her finger at the prince with a beautiful face – and then cupped her right hand to her heart with a bow.

“Now, look promise me that you won’t tell a soul about the next thing that you will hear from me, okay?”
The prince could only nod in response.

“Okay, okay… I guess I really must tell you anyway. So there I was, way up in the sky – when I suddenly realized, I’m quite afraid of heights! So great was my fear that I started to shake, and that’s when I fell – and thought the next thing would be my funeral wake.”
“Umm… okay, was that really so embarrassing to say?”

“Yes, it was. It really was, okay?” The knight breathed a sigh of relief.
“But… at least I got that out of the way. So anyway, stranger. I couldn’t help but overhear your plight – your voice was reaching me from such a great height. Let me at least you give you one word of advice. I heard this from a hooded figure of rather childish height.”
“Oh, thank you, miss knight. Do you have anything that might help me conquer this forest of lies?”

“She said that you should listen to the voices inside. This forest is fickle and it whispers ever so slight.”

“The voices inside? That sure seems like a riddle that I’ll have to ponder for a while. In any case, thank you for that little insight.”
The knight nodded once in reply.

“Well then, if you’ll excuse me, stranger. I must be on my way. I don’t know about these ‘voices inside’ but if you ask me, I’d rather just force my way through this forest of lies.”
With that she drew her sword, which glistened in the light. It was bluish and translucent and seemed to shine from inside with a faint glow of pinkish light.
“Wait, before you go, won’t you tell me who you are, miss knight?”
“Oh I’m a hero of justice – just passing by. Anyway, stranger, I must be on my way. Bye bye!”
The prince waved farewell to the red and white knight, the one who was deathly afraid of heights. She ran through the forest swinging her sword of pink light as she slowly disappeared from sight.
Suddenly, the prince’s eyes lit up with delight, his trusty steed had stood upright.

“Dear friend! I’m so glad to see you’re okay…” he paused and looked to the path that the knight had made.

“Well then, shall we be on our way?”

The horse replied with a contented neigh.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Think You've Got It Bad? - A Vent Post

I see a lot of people vent-posting, so why not? Also, read the whole post before you drop any of your pearls of financial genius wisdom on me -- genius. I'm posting to vent, not to ask for your unsolicited, unwarranted and probably annoying financial advice. Also, please don't include me in your prayers. I am an atheist and your prayers aren't going to change my mind nor "help" me in any tangible way whatsoever.

Furthermore, do take note that I live in a country wherein social welfare is realistically nonexistent and what happens if you can't make enough money to feed yourself or seek medical attention for serious injuries/diseases is that you die. If you live below the poverty line (which I don't), you'll probably die sometime anyway as target practice for the motorcycle assassins currently prowling the streets for anyone who even looks a little bit like a drug addict.

So... this is more or less what my bank account looks like near the start of every month (1 usd = 55 php so what I have here is a little less than 45 USD) -- and it's going to look this way perhaps for as long as I live or even worse, at least from the foreseeable future.

Now allow me to explain. This isn't my secondary bank account -- it's my primary and only one. I do not have social insurance. I do not have third party insurance. I do not have health insurance. I do not have any sort of long-term investments. This bank account is my one and only source of liquid assets. I live off of my salary as a freelance virtual assistant which is 5,500 php a week or 22,000 php a month. Aside from the food, internet, cable, and half of the electric bill, there are also some unexpected expenses that pop up every other month leaving me with more or less around 3,000-7,000 php a month. This month, there were a lot of expected expenses for the maintenance of our car and the renewal of its annual insurance policy, so it fell below the 3k line for a bit.
I once took out some kind of long-term investment/insurance scheme for 3500 php every quarter, but I found that I couldn't handle even that much, so I pulled out and since I hadn't paid off the threshold for the premium, I got nothing out of that. I just ended up paying 10,500 php to the insurance company.
So yeah, the bottom line here is that I'm in a position wherein I'm not realistically able to make any long-term investments for the future since I can't handle any more regular monthly, quarterly, or even annual expenses and I'm not and never will be in the mood to kill myself by working extra jobs on the side just to earn a little bit more loose change for personal expenses.
So what's my next step? I dunno... maybe I'll buy that one video game for the PS Vita I saw online (around 1000 php).
Wait... why am I thinking of buying video games, you might ask? Well, duh? As I said, I'm not in a position wherein I can change my financial situation realistically and none of your pearls of wisdom are going to be of any help to me (really, do you think I haven't thought about what you're going to advice me before? I've been there, done that, seen it all, so shut up and keep reading.) -- so forget about it. The truth is that I'm not at all dissatisfied with my current situation. After all, the financial aspect aside, why would I be?
I work some reasonable and very comfortable hours at my leisure because my employer allows me to do as I please with my time as long as I turn in quality output. We've known each other online for years and I'm a very valued and trusted colleague to her -- even if she can't pay me as much as a larger third-party business.

I can actually afford to eat out every single day and even have money leftover to buy an anime figure/ a video game, or some other premium item every other month.

I don't like brands/brand-name clothing/brand-name gadgets like Apple, Samsung, Oppo, Vivo etc. I'm actually quite satisfied with a Cherry Mobile or some no-rep chinese brand that offers medium to high-spec phones at low, low prices.

I have a good backlog of games to play and anime to watch. I can buy (most) artist-grade art supplies and have ample time to paint/draw the things I want to (mostly Nagi).

My Nagi Sanzen'in figure collection is complete except for some very hard to find garage kits (unofficial third party figures). I have relatively stable internet at home and I sleep in an airconditioned room in a very large house for just two people.

I drive a top-of-the-line (for Suzuki) car that handles very well and that I've customized with a peeking decal (1000 php for two large decals on the side windows) of mai waifu using my own CG art. I wear custom-made shirts featuring my own art every single day of the week.

I don't have a family to support. I don't have a pet, I don't have nor need a social life, I have no friends IRL and I only talk to a select few acquaintances from all across the globe online.

I don't dream of traveling the world nor owning a large mansion -- (our house already counts as one anyway) and I've never really felt the appeal of traveling to other countries. Unlike other otaku, it has never been my dream to travel to Japan nor am I even interested in local conventions.

I can continue to write my stories that no one (actually, at least one person. Thanks, Roop.) ever seems to be interested in reading (or at least even feels like letting me know that they enjoy reading them) and keep deluding myself that I'm actually a pretty competent writer.

I can make more and more videos gloating about the victory of Hayate x Nagi every week because cry all you want, haters but HayaNagi is canon and you were all wrong while I was right all along~!
I can still afford to pay for my domain name ( and I'm even a developer on Google Play with my own visual novels up both for free and for a fee.
Most of all, I'm fit and healthy and I don't have a bulging potbelly like a lot of other people who let their bad habits get the better of them do.
So why would I be dissatisfied? Sure, I could always use a little bit more money than I'm actually making right now -- but the same is true for everyone. It's all a matter of perspective.
-This is lordcloudx out.

Hayate Reflections: Taking A Break This Week

Life has been unusually busy -- and not in a good way. Anyway... have a video and fanart.

Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (Dreamcast): A VIsual Novel Review by Mid-Tier Guard

To Derek Pascarella, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, Lewis Cox, Piggy, Nico, Danthrax4, Lacquerware, EsperKnight, SnowyAria, VincentNL, cyo, and Ha...