24 June 2011

'Escape the Fate'

A music review? *gasp*
(CREDIT: to Escape the Fate... obviously.)
Rank: 4.5 out of 5 <-- best new album I bought in a while

Either I have found no good music lately, or every act in the universe is on the downward path. In a time when music continues to disappoint me more and more, this new album truly is an oasis.

I might have said so earlier, but I can't say I love Escape the Fate. Yet I have bought every single CD they have released. The only band where I invested that much time and dedication is HIM for obvious reasons, so it feels kinda odd. These guys are not high on my list of favorite artists, but I think they are climbing in the ranks quickly.

Escape the Fate's self-titled album is by far their most mature at this point, if stripping whines away and replacing them with singing and screaming can be deemed "mature." Regardless, it's a relief to not hear Craig whine pitifully like he did in "Something" and "Ashley" from This War is Ours. Thankfully this third album has screaming all throughout from beginning to end, unlike in the previous record when it begins in "The Flood" - the halfway mark.

One of the best things of the album is how dark and eerie it is. Songs such as "Massacre" or "Lost in Darkness" can fit in pretty well on a horror film soundtrack. Some songs before could be seen as gruesome, but in the case of "Lost in Darkness" the lyrics are far more disturbing than those in "My Apocalypse" from their debut album. In fact, I can almost imagine it fitting a Higurashi anime music video... If you want a heavy, dark album to check out, feel free to jump all over this one. Though they are "post-hardcore", this current Escape the Fate pleases the Fangirl and her heavy metal and goth rock loving soul.

Really, I can't say anything really objectively positive here. I can best sum this up as epic and intense; I am also pissed that I only spent $7.00 on it at Target. I would have paid $14.00 for this if I could.

The main issue I have, however, might just be a fabric of my imagination, but at some points, Escape the Fate began to sound like Marilyn Manson. At the very least, "City of Sin" sounds too much like "mOBSCENE" in beat, rhythm, the chorus, and the chant right after the chorus. Feel free to compare if you'd like to, or play the "mOBSCENE" music video on mute and play "City of Sin" over it.

Like almost every record there are a few skippable or forgettable tracks here such as "Day of Wreckoning", otherwise, Escape the Fate is a solid album. It seems that this was the album in which Craig has proved to be a great vocalist for the band after Ronnie's issues. A fine example of this is "World Around Me," a ballad far better than This War Is Ours' "Harder Than You Know," a whiny pity fest in comparison. If only such a great feat was accomplished in the previous record... oh well, better late than never. By far this is the most impressive record this band has released to date and I really recommend it to fans of this genre of rock/metal/punk... oh just check out the linkies. :P

Back to playing this nonstop again. After a small spell of dull music, I am glad this album pumped my spirits back up. Yay. ^_^

The Art of Making First Impressions...

...in entertainment. Or in real life, it depends. This is a less formal rant so a more polished one will be for another day... once Fangirl finishes up unpacking boxes in the new house. (At least the internet now works - sorry for the short inactivity!)

No matter what the situation and place, we all can relate to the importance of first impressions. How else can someone hire you? How else can you have a tiny idea of which people you want to hang out with? How else can you be willing enough to pay for a CD - no, excuse me, DOWNLOAD an album - without hearing a note? How else can you be prepared for what you might get yourself into? You get the idea, yeah?

Typically some people emphasize that judging someone or something without understanding some of it is wrong. However, first impressions are conclusions made from quick judgements made on the surface. So all the extra moral people in the world are being "evil" and are not aware! Sort of. Not only that but if you judge something after exposing yourself to "a little bit," someone will scream at your face until you are figuratively beaten to the ground, stabbed in the gut, punched in the face, and left on the edge of a cliff. ...Maybe that was too graphic. REMEMBER: it was figuratively speaking.

To get to the point, I often hate making firm positions on something without at least attempting to do some background research or look over the views of others on the subject. Sure, I can be an opinionated witch 99.9% of the time, but I try to not look or sound completely unintelligent and lazy. With that in mind, I sometimes think my reviews are far too subjective (and I know they are), even to the point that I don't CRITICIZE. As much as I love shows like Higurashi and House, books like Harry Potter and Mars, and other stuff, it really doesn't look good if a fangirl does nothing but squeal and jump up and down about something that might be considered garbage in reality. The same goes for things I don't like (Twilight. PERIOD.)

So what is the point of this post? I don't know exactly. A confessed worry? A rant? Both?
Yeah, it might be both.

You could say that I just ran into a show that bored me so freaking much that I had to stop at only 11 out of 25 minutes. I barely made it to the halfway mark of the first episode and I gave up. That, ladies and gents, is a first. I gave Godsmack one full song and half of a second before I declared them as a band I hate. I gave Slipknot one song and a few minutes of research before I disliked them. I liked the Twilight series for over a year before I dropped it. I gave freaking Disney stars a few weeks of the "I don't care" treatment until I despised the company all together. Even Justin Beiber. Months of mild annoyance before I exploded with rage as fast as people kissed his feet.

Yep. I don't think I disliked something so quickly in a long time... The guilty party is...
Ergo Proxy.

Maybe I'm still emotional from my shear disappointment of the first 11 minutes of the show, but man, what a waste of time it was. My first impression was somewhat neutral: animation looked good, soundtrack was supposedly decent, and everything else is a mixed bag. In such a short time, I was blown away at how dull, uninspiring, and slow the show begins. There is no hook, no pull whatsoever. Despite it being a post-apocalyptic world, everything in Ergo Proxy felt so dull that even real life is more fascinating.

Again, these are my first impressions and I know I can't make a review of it because of the lack of information I have. But as a first-time viewer, I am positive that I will NOT review this snoozefest for a long time, even if you gave me the lifetime opportunity to send me to Finland for a week. This "psychological" and "philosophical" show needs to get off of its snooty butt and write an interesting story.

It's times like these when I have to be careful of impressions. Sometimes they can be right, sometimes they can be semi-true, and other times they are downright wrong. But after reading and watching many reviews, I have not found much relevant persuasions to make me to change my mind. If it's because of movies, music, shows, or even people you meet every day, you might relate to the frustrations of making first impressions and judgements.

18 June 2011

Two Music Notes

Usually I'm one of the last people in the world to hear about updates of any kind; however, this is my blog and I can post stuff whenever I want. I could go back into my super-research mode like I used to, but life gets hectic or life gets dull and I have either no information to know about, or stuff that is really old. Whatever. *shrugs*

Still Sweet Talking to a Coma Patient

That best sums up my position on Evanescence at this point. They still piss me off because of reasons I already covered, and they still have the guts to now spill enough info for their wiki page to be more... "up-to-date".

Anywho. According to a post from Kerrang!'s website, the third (or fourth if you count Origin) album might possibly be released in October of this year. Plus, Amy Lee posted a video on Twitter of her playing a bit of a song that might be on the album. I did listen to it... but I have nothing really to say about it since it's only a preview where nothing happens. FINE. It's kinda boring so far, but it's only a minute long.

Insert Random War Pun Here

Now that it's been six months from being released from prison, Ronnie Radke and his new band Falling in Reverse will release their debut album July 25 in the UK and the 26 in the US.

Since I have their first two albums, I can admit into being a fan of Escape the Fate. I don't love them per se, but they have a few good tracks. Personally, I don't think Ronnie or Craig was better overall for ETF; however, I think Ronnie is a better screamer, while Craig sings better.

With that said, I'm excited for Ronnie's band and their new album. Their song "Raised by Wolves" is pretty sweet! But from the obvious pokes at ETF... I'm praying for no dog fights, no matter whose "war" it is.

'Paranoia Agent'

(CREDIT: to the late Satoshi Kon and all who helped him.)
Rank: 1.8 out of 5 <-- so much wasted potential

An elementary school kid dubbed with the title "shounen bat" or "lil slugger" has been going around attacking people with his bent, golden bat. Now, two detectives are investigating so they can stop this kid from making any more attacks, but they will find out soon enough... that this case is much more than they expected.
(From Anime News Network)

Once again, my opinionated, cynical self cannot agree with the majority. This must be my destiny.

No matter where I went, everyone said nothing but full praise for this series and all for the same reasons: Satoshi Kon, the music, the animation, the maturely intricate plot etc. Everyone said that this show is for all anime fans to watch and be marveled by such a masterpiece. Everyone said how scary and shocking Paranoia Agent is because of its relatable themes.

13 episodes later. ... ... ... was that the best this "psychological horror" anime can do?

Fine, maybe Higurashi had so much show and bravado that this is bland and thumbed down in comparison. But despite how more realistic it was, almost nothing about Paranoia Agent scared me... or shocked me. Maybe it's wrong to compare two different series, one based on an amateur visual/sound novel and another made by a late "genius." Pardon my rudeness.

Well, I only found one critical review that had fairly reasonable arguments. That's a plus.

One of the biggest flaws with this show is the cast with many bland and irrelevant characters. Some of them appear for one episode and add nothing to the progression of the story; others appear frequently but never get much development or relevance ever again. Furthermore, they lack depth or at least one trait that can contribute to the greater part of the story. Fans say that the series derails from episode 9 to 11; however, I can call bullshit and say that things derailed by halfway of episode 6. The cast is so big, yet so pointless that this makes every character in most shonen anime (like Naruto and Bleach) look complex.

Plus, if you have characters this shallow and bland, the psychological twists they go through look silly, boring, or just ridiculous. Again, I hate to bring it up BUT... Higurashi had developing characters go through slow psychological torture before they went batshit crazy. Paranoia Agent just assumes we care and makes crap happen... far... too... quickly.

The final verdict for the plot? Average. Nothing was shocking - not even the ending, which was just more random than anything else. Potentially good ideas were provided but never went through. Possibly good characters were wasted. There were no plot holes, but there were lots of dead ends.

Might I also add that the plot is fill of "scrapped" ideas Satoshi Kon wanted to use for movies but never made it. Well, it shows.

However, to the show's credit, the animation is very good and character designs are very realistic, rather than going by typical anime designs. The opening theme, as stated earlier, is hauntingly creepy and yet beautiful; I am almost tempted to download it. Paranoia Agent might have been really random at times, but some issues were covered in a decent manner: mass hysteria, coincidental misunderstandings (one innocent kid was thought to be Lil' Slugger), split personalities, and escapism. It's only a shame that these highlights could not make a sloppy story get a high score from me.

I'm sorry, fellow anime fans. I tried to like this show, but it took far too long for me to get interested - no, I had to force myself to watch every single episode. Paranoia Agent did an awful job at "sucking me in." I'm sorry. But yet, I do not regret watching this show. This is something any anime fan should try out at least once and see what he/she thinks. BUT as sad as it is that it is out of print, I will not recommend trying to buy it at all. I quite frankly don't think I can watch this show ever again. At least I tried...

16 June 2011

Creepiness Galore...

First it was Higurashi's opening theme, now it's Paranoia Agent's. But in terms of the show itself, Paranoia Agent is far less entertaining... for now. I hope the show gets much better over time, but so far, only this opening song is impressive.

Very... psychotic... o_O

12 June 2011

'Ef - A Tale of Memories'

(CREDIT: to the creators. duh.)
Rank: 5 out of 5 <-- Guess I'm not a heartless biatch after all. :P

The anime revolves around two protagonists, Hirono Hiro and Asou Renji. On Christmas Eve, Hiro meets a girl named Miyamura Miyako who was chasing a purse snatcher. He later finds out that Miyako also goes to the same school as he does and they start hanging out together, making Hiro's childhood friend Shindou Kei jealous.
Meanwhile, Asou Renji meets a girl named Shindou Chihiro at an abandoned train station. He soon learns that Chihiro suffers from a type of amnesia where her memory span only lasts for 13 hours. He also discovers Chihiro's dream of writing a novel and decides to help her fulfill it due to her condition.
(From Anime New Network.)

The anti-romantic Fangirl has been defeated again. No, more than that. I was stabbed in the heart, beaten to a bloody pulp, and left on the side of the road as a testament to all about what happens when someone disses romanticism. And to that, I apologize to the world... now, you must pay my medical bill. But let me say a few things before I get pummeled again. This show is so sappy, it's almost as bad as Titanic and The Notebook. Something like this should set me off, make me blow up every red heart [the shape - not the organ] on the face of this planet. I should complain about how wimpy the characters (especially the guys) were. BUT I CAN'T.

Ef - A Tale of Memories has pretty much left me almost nothing to say about it other than it was far better than I expected. I was only initially interested because Arkada mentioned the show TWICE in his Glass Reflection videos: once on a list of sad moments in anime and another on 10 anime that should be dubbed. If a guy admits that he enjoyed a romantic drama anime enough that he cried... yeah... a few points given already.

Yes, A Tale of Memories made me freaking cry a few times. It was wonderful to finally watch a show where there is no filler content whatsoever, the characters are likable, and the plot moves quickly, but smoothly. How Ef could tell two storylines in 12 episodes and deliver both of them so beautifully and emotionally is way beyond what my brain can wrap around. There were loads of moments where I should have made fun of the characters for being melodramatic, but those scenes would make my heart heavy instead.

Once I got a sense of where the story was going, everything about the show seemed nearly perfect. The overall soundtrack is very good as well with various opening and ending songs; although, it took a while for the music to grow on me. And the animation. Holy crap. Every scene is gorgeous and is truly an artistic feast, and I felt very content every time. The voice actors were phenomenal because almost every thing they said felt so raw and natural. I could go on and mention the memorable scenes for their music, imagery, and emotion, but I would take too long: A Tale of Memories is THAT good.

Complaints? ... ... ... 12 episodes is way too short. And it NEEDS to be dubbed in English. By professionals. None of that 4Kids quality garbage or else I will take back every nice thing I said about this show.

Because the scenes can be surrealistic and it's a romance drama, Ef - A Tale of Memories might be good to try out for some and not for others. But if romance or drama is up your alley... why the hell haven't you googled this show yet? I can't quite call this show a masterpiece, but if it can ever be distributed on the western hemisphere, I'd probably put this show on my shelf within seconds. I'll go back to watch the show again for sure, but for now, Ef - A Tale of Memories deserves a perfect 5 out of 5.

Are there memories you do not want to forget?

11 June 2011


(CREDIT: to the creators of the comics and this movie.)
Rank: 3 out of 5 <-- a superhero(-ish) movie that I like? *gasp*

Superhero films annoy me. Superhero films based off of comics that never end piss me off. Superhero films based off of never-ending comics that suck... well, run away or else a mushroom cloud will consume you.

Admittedly I was only interested in Thor because of it being based on Norse mythology. The general topic always caught my attention as a kid, but in the past few years I have been curious about mythologies that often are glossed over (Chinese, Japanese, Norse, Finnish, etc...) I figured that this movie would at least give me a few hints about the Norse myths that I know so little about. When I came out, I still didn't know too much, but at least a few names will stick.

As for the film... I liked it! It did many things right that I like it films: the secondary characters were easy to remember (if only by appearance), comedy reigned at some great times, and Asgard looked absolutely otherworldly and gorgeous. On the surface the plot flowed pretty well for two hours and nothing really dragged. The characters were not very complex, but as simple and predictable as they were, they still were generally likable. Thor was even willing enough to be humorous at times, which tells us that the movie is an action flick where fun stuff happens. The special effects were decent as were the fighting scenes (too many close-ups) and the music was really epic.

While these work well, the overall story is just plain average with a fun and visual kick to it. Because these superhero-ish movies are not my cup of tea, I cannot say I love this film completely. Sure, the characters were not whiny and bitchy, the plot stayed somewhat on course, and I was amused. That's it. As much as I can say these good things, the film made a mistake that a good story should never - ever make. PLOT HOLES.

There are Ice Giants, but they have only twenty minutes of relevance in Thor. What was the point in having them? How did they get into Asgard without the notice of the guard at the Bifrӧst? What are the other ways of traveling between realms? Is this gaping hole open for a sequel to bury it or not? What if you never get a sequel to continue this? Explain, movie, EXPLAIN!!!!!!!

Plot holes, especially obvious ones, are one of the biggest killers for the ever nitpicky critic in me. Sadly that is why I cannot give Thor a higher score. But if there will be a sequel, maybe I can overlook the poor, abandoned, empty hole where I fell in head-first. A superhero(ish) movie that I like and saw how great it might have been if they took better care? *gasp!*

A Family Tree

NOTE: from the Metal: A Headbanger's Journey documentary.

Wandering around the internet is great fun, especially when one runs into something kinda cool. At least to me, I found this cool. As an amateur fan, I'd like to spend more time researching heavy metal. :)

10 June 2011

Staying Natural Is Tough

Time to bounce off of my anime cloud nine for a moment and get something off my chest. Yes, people, this is RANTS from a Fangirl, not REVIEWS.

I do my best to not reveal too much about my personal information, but with this particular topic, a few hints of what I look like will probably be noticed. On the other hand, I feel sensitive to this issue and I want to write about it down for the internet to read. Just like before, MelinaPendulum made a good video that as inspired me to type this. Honestly, watch it.


As "liberal" I am in thought an ideology, I am traditional in some stances. For starters I find most modern beauty to be absolutely frivolous. I find barely find a handful of reasons why I would need to spend hours "slaving" over making myself presentable. Makeup has always been seen as pointless, perfume/cologne as nauseating, perfect dresses as wasteful, and gorgeous hairstyles as a firework, which took hours to make and seconds to blow up. HOWEVER!!!! I have no issues with my friends using these products to make themselves feel good; I just feel personally uninterested.

And it's my lack of interest that caused my friends to try and fail to encourage me to be more openminded to such... feminine rituals.

Unlike my friends and most of the kids at my school, I am racially mixed: my dad is black - and part Native American - and my mom is Caucasian. But due to the fact that most official papers still refuse to accept the "mixed race" option, I consider myself black. Although I am a mini cocktail with some features from light-skinned and dark-skinned people. The most apparent ones are my skin, a "milk chocolate" result as I like to call it, and my hair, dark brown but tightly curled and frizzy (but it's nothing compared to what my dad could have if he wasn't nearly-bald.) Some people have often told me that I am very pretty for both of these features. Of course I say thank you, but tell me how many people are always happy as they look.

My biggest concern of being mixed is not exactly how to look good, it's mostly how people view me. I'm a bit of an oddball in more ways than being a part of the American minority: although I am dark skinned, my one friend said I am "the whitest black chick" she has ever met. If you talk to me, I would sound "white" - or "professional" as dad says it. Maybe it just means that I don't sound like a stereotypical black girl from the ghetto or whatever you people call it. No street slang from this chick. :P

But the thing I am accepting more and more each day is the fact that there are some things I don't want to change. Some of my blunt honesty shows itself in how I care for my hair and face: I use soap to wash it and I care for it quickly and efficiently. I don't want to straighten my hair every day. I don't want to spend hours just to please the world. I don't want people to tell me what I should and should not do to look how I want to look. It took my friends many months to realize that no matter what, I won't invest in making myself look pretty.

Why am I so cynical on this?

Whenever I would put on makeup, I would feel no different than I did before I put it on. Whenever I would get my hair done, I would sit on my sore butt for three-to-four hours to wash, dry, and add relaxers. When I went out to buy a dress for Cotillion last year, it took all day to find a dress that was good... but didn't fit me right. Now I dread the day when I have to face PROM. *prepares suicide ritual*

I guess on a subconscious level, I have accepted myself as I am so I don't worry about how I look. During formal occasions I will make myself look nice - for socially appropriate reasons - but that's about it. I feel comfortable enough to walk into school with wild frizzy hair in a ponytail in 80 degree weather and completely humid. I only wear makeup less than five times a year, and I almost never have a need for formal clothes. Khol's has some decent clothes that are cheap, but I mix stuff up so I look alright. I don't need to go to great heights to make myself look and feel good. In my heart it feels as if I do that, I am only hiding what I truly look like instead of "accenting it" as my one fashionable friend puts it.

Because of this view of mine, I would not really fit into several categories. I could never be a goth or an emo, as cool as some of those clothes can be, and I couldn't get away with something beyond my reach. Practicality is what I strive for when I present myself. My natural skin is nice, so why should I get a tan or add foundation? My eyes are dark brown... okay... but are eye products mandatory? And my hair is wild, frizzy, and very tangly, is it wrong if I cut it super short so I no longer need a comb?

Someone once told me that if I do not dress myself in a presentable manner, I might lose a job opportunity to a white woman who looks almost flawless. Sure, the real world sucks in that way. Some women will get jobs because of their beauty rather than their experience or intelligence. Well, who cares? There is another job out there for me to look for and someone will hire me. Trial and error people, this process is wired in us, remember?

To get back on topic, I do not see makeup and many beauty "rituals" to be a universally terrible demon. It helps many women to feel better about themselves or to feel beautiful. There is nothing wrong with it; however, looks are not something I will invest in. Now while I'm still in the mood, I hope I can get to the hairdresser and chop off most of the mess I call unpractical "hair"...

04 June 2011

Blogging: One Year Later

A message of "thank you so much" or "I love you all so much" is incredibly corny that I wish not to do so. But it's been a year and I get an average of 200-300 views a month from all over the world...

It was May 14 of last year when I made my first rant about Facebook. Only three people, my dad and two good friends on Pandora, knew I had a blog at the time, and they continue to pop in every once in a while to see what's on my mind. Over two months, I tried desperately to have some kind of style and something to talk about. Sure, this blog is called Rants From a Fangirl, but what could I talk about before reaching for the end of my rope? That was a huge issue, but it was also pretty difficult to understand that my opinions were exposed to the world and that anyone can read what I type.

Blogging was a chore in the sense that I had a small bag of ammunition and a really amateurish gun. In other words, I had few ideas and a weak tool to put them to use. As my July trip to Europe came closer, I wrote a quick farewell to mark my three week hiatus. While away, my blog was at the back of my mind and I expected nothing would change.

And like any story, the unexpected "twist" happened and I was proven wrong. I got back home in late July and made my "I'm back!" post, ready to get back to my dull routine. Suddenly at the end of the month, my stats showed I had over 100 page views. To be honest, I still don't know how that happened... o_O

During the end of summer I spent more time on various sites putting down melanie-light.blogspot.com everywhere I went. If I'm not mistaken, because of the time I spent on ValoDaily and LiveJournal I gained a few viewers from Europe and Russia. The next thing I knew, the month of August had a whooping 411 views. However things started up didn't matter anymore; I let go of trying to be big on the internet and I decided to do Rants From a Fangirl in my way.

I'm sure I have gained new followers and lost older ones, but the fact that some people come back to read the opinionated tangents this teenage American makes me happy. I might stand on the darker side of the stage online and in real life, but if a few people acknowledge this, then that effort was not wasted.

Here comes the corny, vomit-enducing message I want to say: thank you so much for reading my blog. Thank you for coming back again and again to see what I think about random stuff. Thank you, gracias, merci, grazie, danke, kiitos, ありがとう, 谢谢, etc. etc.

I wonder how long I'll keep my blog up and running... hmmm...

03 June 2011

June Update

The past few weeks have been very unfriendly to Fangirl. My family is trying to move, but the bank needs to send us a few papers to give us the okay. That should have happened ages ago, but other people have bigger needs than a teenager who has been sleeping on the floor. But hey, at least I have a pillow and blankets.

In the midst of my simple, yet stressful and isolating home life I might spend some time here... or play around on Facebook... or read manga. Speaking of which...

I am almost done with When They Cry Solutions, and I'm reading the various manga written based on the eight main arcs of Higurashi. Told you I'm obsessed with horror... ish stuff. o_O

The usual stuff is on the way: reviews, rants, and maybe a few random stuff here or there. I'm pretty unpredictable at this point.

Those of you who are enjoying summer vacation now - or very shortly - have a blast. Go crazy. Don't be locked indoors all day. Beat up suspicious people. ...okay, scratch that last part. :P
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