Love As Both Realism And Fantasy In “5 Centimeters Per Second”

posted Apr 3, 2018, 2:14 AM by Rick Casper Diamond   [ updated Apr 3, 2018, 2:14 AM ]

One of the beauties of anime is the Japanese’s devotion to the craft. Whether it’s a TV series or a full-length offering, anime reveals the painstaking effort illustrators and writers put in ensuring that they have a “glossy finish,” so to speak. 

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“5 Centimeters per Second” is one example of an anime that showcases great care for the craft while ensuring too that the culture of the country is not lost in the so-called translation. It is essentially a love story parceled out in various narratives, chronicling in one segment a boy’s effort to visit his childhood love across the country by train. In another, a young girl comes of age as she studies the colossal beauty of stars on her bike.

This film is very Japanese, to say the least. We see in vivid 2D the director Makoto Shinkai’s desire to be meticulous, from little things like signages in Japanese train stations and vendo machines, to the grandeur of falling snowflakes and the speed by which cherry blossoms get separated from the tree and fall to the ground (the anime’s title is a reference to this).

The film was awarded Best Animated Feature Film at the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards and, 11 years after, continues to gain worldwide popularity. It offers a fresh intertwining of fantasy and realism, while keeping true to the overall theme of love and intricate musings on innocence, loss, and moving on. 

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Hi, my name’s Rick Casper and I’m a diamond gemologist. I like sharing my knowledge on how to qualify diamond buyers, what one can look for in real diamonds, and the like. I’m also a huge anime fan. For similar reads, visit this blog.

The Best Gundam Series That Aren’t Uc

posted Jan 30, 2018, 4:39 AM by Rick Casper Diamond   [ updated Jan 30, 2018, 4:39 AM ]

If you ask the most ardent Gundam fans, they’ll be quick to tell you that the must-see Gundam series are those from the Universal Century, or UC arc. After all, this is the main and flagship arc of the franchise. To put in into perspective, the UC arc shows are like the film episodes of Star Wars; all are considered to be canon.
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But don’t let that turn you off from the rest of the shows. Gundam shows outside the UC are just as good (some say even better) than the UC shows. Here are some series for you to explore about Japan’s number one anime.

”Gundam Wing”

“Gundam Wing”, released in the mid-‘90s, is arguably the most popular and beloved of all the Gundam shows outside the UC. This show includes some of the most memorable Gundam pilots of all-time, and a host of villains fans will never forget. The main as well as sub plots are all finely fleshed out, with tragedies and triumphs that hardly seem contrived or insincere.

”Gundam Thunderbolt”

In terms of presentation, “Gundam Thunderbolt” is the antithesis of “Gundam Wing”. But as far as quality is concerned, they are in our humble opinion, a match. The art of Thunderbolt is amazing as well as its animation, unlike any Gundam show before it. However, its story is limited, with only eight episodes at present, and less than 20 minutes per episode. It’s gritty and violent, and will leave a lasting scar on viewers. That is what makes it great.
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Hello there! Rick Casper here. I’m a diamond gemologist and huge anime fanatic. Check out this blog to find out more about me.

Overpowered anime characters: An analytic perspective

posted Nov 28, 2017, 8:52 PM by Rick Casper Diamond   [ updated Nov 28, 2017, 8:52 PM ]

By now, everyone in the anime community is aware of how heated discussions over who the strongest character is, with the fans of Dragon Ball Z leading the pack with creatively made videos showing how Goku can kick Superman’s and Saitama’s keisters to New Namek and back. 

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This article will not be about that. 

Instead, we shall discuss why overpowered (OP) characters can potentially go wrong and how a few manage to avoid it. 

In general, OP characters—those whose power is of great magnitude with no known in-show limits—are usually taken as a sign of bad writing, the disastrous result of which is the narrative black hole character known as the Mary Sue and Gary Stu. Being merely overpowered, however, will not reduce the character to that hated archetype. 

People tend to respond poorly to OP characters when the true extent of their powers can kill drama and break the story altogether. This isn’t much of an issue when there are reasonable narrative reasons for their powers to be limited. Younger characters may be inexperienced or ignorant of the extent of their potential powers, as Goku did in the earlier seasons of Dragon Ball. 

Exploring the consequences of their powers can also make an OP character more grounded or believable. Saitama from “One-punch man,” a contender for “most OP character ever made,” faces the consequences of his OP nature: he is bored with his life and is in search for a worthy opponent. 

Overpowered characters can also be narratively engaging if there’s more to them than being powerful, and emotional baggage and relatable quirks can quickly endear people to any character regardless. The titular character of “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” comes off as incredibly endearing because of her character quirks.

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I’m Rick Casper, diamond gemologist and anime fan. Catch more of my updates on Twitter.

The Best Hip-Hop Tracks Of The 90s

posted Oct 27, 2017, 2:11 AM by Rick Casper Diamond   [ updated Oct 27, 2017, 2:11 AM ]

From its 70s block party roots to the current era’s eclecticism as found in the works of Kendrick Lamar or Drake, hip-hop has been a moving force in the popular music industry and has shaped many of the musical trends that will define the genre’s many iterations. The 90s is particularly characterized by its mainstream direction. A lot of critics still consider the 90s (or at least the first half of the decade) part of what they considered the golden age of hip-hop. Here are some of the best hip-hop tracks from the 1990s:

Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Dogg, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang"

Dr. Dre changed the whole landscape of hip-hop upon the release of his debut album, “The Chronic.” This particular song is the first single and practically garnered praise and accolades from critics and fans. It features Snoop Dogg who would eventually make a name for himself. It has been included in lists like The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” and Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

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Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

Rap rock is given its most promising representation here with its classic rock instrumentation mixed with turntable scratches and crazy riffs. Like any hip-hop track of importance, “Sabotage” was included in almost all the major best-track lists.

Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M”

So “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” seemed to be one of the most successful tracks of the Wu-Tang Clan. It is also often cited as one of the best hip-hop tracks ever, with a number of top music magazines taking note of the group’s inventive hardcore hip-hop creations and linguistic prowess in crafting their lyrics.

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Hi there! I’mRick Casper, a diamond gemologist. While I spend most of my time studying precious stones to determine their quality, value, and genuineness, I take some time off teaching those who want to pursue a career in gemology. When I am not teaching, you can find me blogging about diamonds and other precious stones or rapping along my favorite hip-hop tunes. To know more about my professional work and hobbies, visit this page.

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