Ordinary-but-special

Origin stories are heralds of doom

Working as a veterinarian means you end up doing a lot of work with people. This gives you a lot of opportunity for people watching, and you notice patterns of behaviour. This is useful because it helps you realise what these clients need, but don’t want to ask you.

I’ve noticed that when people start to tell you about their pet’s life story, particularly their origin story, they’re already grappling with the idea that they’re about to lose their pet, even if they don’t know it yet. It’s like they know they’re about to be devastated, it’s a fast attempt to make me, the veterinarian, understand why their pet in particular is so very special to them. It’s a cry for validation that the grief that is about to wash over them is valid and justified.

I already know their grief is real and justified, even if it’s the first time I’ve met the animal and family. You can see it. It might be the family pet, but most of the time that pet has one special human that is their favourite, one human that loves them just a little bit more than the others, and I can see it on their faces.

The origin stories are all the same, and all unique.

“He was the runt of the litter and had to be put on a table so the other pups would stop bullying him while I was there. I went back and had to have him.”

“She was my daughter’s dog, but we started dog sitting when she had her first baby and then she just never left.”

“I’ve had him since he was three weeks old, a tiny scrap of fluff we found under the tomato bush and bottle fed.”

“The cat just walked into our new house like she owned the place, terrorised the dog and never wanted to leave.”

“She had kittens under the chair on my veranda, so I took her inside to make her comfortable.”

They’re all heartfelt stories of beautiful, ordinary moments that make life special, but they’re always told around the time of euthanasia. Some tell them before they’ve accepted the fact that they need to say goodbye, some say it afterwards as they’re composing themselves.

I was working emergency yesterday, a gruelling twelve hour shift on a public holiday. I had several palliative care and complex medical cases on the go from the previous weeks, and because I hate to leave my clients and patients without a plan I had told them which emergency clinic I would be working at so they could contact me if they were unsure about anything. It’s better for your long term sanity than handing out your mobile number to clients, which I can’t answer in work hours anyway.

When I arrive at my emergency shift at midday I find one of my patients waiting for me in a cage, hooked up to pain relief and looking miserable. The hospital vet hands over responsibility for her to me, and I go through her blood results. Pancreatitis and massive inflammation, in addition to everything else she has going on.

The day goes on, crazy busy, and ten hours later she’s starting to look worse. Puffing, ventral oedema and a subtle bruise colour developing on her shaved abdomen.

At shift handover I explain the dog’s story to the night vet at the start of her shift.

“Her owner died a few months ago, and the day of his funeral the patient had her first seizure. Subsequently also diagnosed with heart disease. At 1 month recheck noted weight loss and identified abdominal mass. Wife wasn’t going to put her through surgery, then got an attack of the guilts because her husband would have done anything for this dog. Mass is single lobe of liver, hugely distended, while rest of liver appears normal. Results are most likely liver tumour at base of lobe, undefined. Patient nearly died under anaesthetic but has been recovering well these last ten days until presentation. She’s anxious in hospital and wont eat without her humans around, her favourite is chicken.”

I told her origin story. I really knew, but didn’t want to accept, that my patient wouldn’t be leaving ICU and I put her to sleep a few hours later. Since her owner’s death it seems like she’d been trying very hard to join him, between the seizures, heart disease, liver tumour, pancreatitis and DIC.

I don’t cry over many patients, but I did for her.

And I told her origin story.

Yuri on Ice interview translation - CREA 2017/03 (p32-33)

This is the full interview with Mitsurou Kubo published on CREA. I actually wanted to translate all the YOI interviews together but some translations going around urged me to post this one before the others, as I wouldn’t be able to finish everything tonight.

It’s not really an interview, it’s more like a partial interview and a short commentary of each episode.

The other 4 short interviews are with Kenji Miyamoto (choreographer), Eiji Abiko & Junpei Tatenaka (figure skating animators), Yuuko Sagiri (original costume designer), Keisuke Tominaga (music producer). I will try to post them tomorrow night if I can finish them.

***If you wish to share this translation please do it by reblogging or posting a link to it***

***Re-translating into other languages is ok but please mention that this post is the source***


The reality as expressed by 5 people who created “Yuri on Ice”

Reality #1: Story x Mitsurou Kubo

“The reality of emotions” is what Kubo-san gave most importance to when she created the manga storyboard for this series. “Simply listing up the contents of the skaters’ programs and their score and connecting them together is not going to create something emotional. In my storyboard I tried to convey the feelings of all athletes, not just Yuuri, with their performances, to express them carefully, so that other skaters who watch them will in turn be influenced by them like in a chain reaction.”
An important tool to express those feelings are the monologues that can be heard during the programs, blended in harmony with the performance.
“Watching the footage of the choreographies by Kenji Miyamoto-sensei I realized that, even though he simply created them based on the songs, in many cases they perfectly match the athlete’s feelings too. I was so moved and thought that Kenji-sensei is an amazing person.”
As the series is pursuing reality, it does not contain any unrealistic techniques.
“If we had included something over-the-top people would have just said ‘that’s unreal’, so I thought that it was better to just go a little ahead of reality, and consulted with many people to decide the difficulty of the techniques to use. However, shortly thereafter real life skaters actually surpassed that level, which really surprised me. We did decide the level knowing that it would be surpassed one day, but we didn’t think it would happen so soon!”
The writer Mitsurou Kubo also needed a lot of courage to portray Yuuri determined to win for love.
“On the ice rink you can express anything, and that’s why, even if I had never thought about what true love is or represented it before, I decided to try my hand at openly depicting love as fiction. As a result, I myself was encouraged by the story I wrote and felt that I could make a fresh start after that.”

“I ended up being encouraged by the story about love that I openly portrayed as fiction.”

Highlights of every episode by Mitsurou Kubo

#1 Nan no Piroshiki!! Namida no Grand Prix Final
“I want you to watch the best figure skating animation”
Before the series was broadcasted I was worried, because normally original anime not based on a previous work and airing late at night take a long time to catch the viewers’ attention. However, my fear was swept away by the extraordinary skating scenes of the first episode, and the show gained a good reputation right away. Stunning images can provide the best promotion.

#2 Futari no Yuri!? Yutopia no Ran
“Figure skaters feeling more familiar”
This part is set during the off-season in Yuuri’s hometown. If we had showed special people battling each other in a faraway place from the very start the viewers would never have felt close to them, therefore I decided to start the story with the Russians, Victor and Yurio, spending time in the onsen of the castle town Hasetsu, eating katsudon and spreading news via the SNS, so that they would feel more familiar to the audience.

#3 Boku ga Eros de Eros ga Boku de!? Taiketsu! Onsen on ICE
“You can feel the growth of Yuuri and Yurio”
Once the Grand Prix series starts no one can afford to lose anymore, so I created this provisional match between Yuuri and Yurio to emphasize their relationship as rivals but also as comrades. I also wanted to show that a competitive program is progressively brushed up during the season based on each athlete’s pace. Originally I also thought of showing Yurio’s mother rushing to the scene.

#4 Jibun wo Suki ni Natte… Kansei!! Free Program
“Yuuri and Victor gradually become closer”
In the process of completing the free skating program Yuuri and Victor become closer to each other, both as coach and student and as equals. Yuuri’s gesture of poking the top of Victor’s head has no logical meaning. I think it symbolizes how Yuuri, acting on an impulse, breaks his own shell and steps into the territory of the person that previously was only considered a living legend.

#5 Kao Makka!! Shosen Da yo! Chuu-shikoku-kyuushuu Senshuken Taikai
“Check out the relationship between seniors and juniors”
Minami-kun, a skater that looks up to Yuuri, appears in this episode. I really like the scene where Yuuri, finally becoming aware that he is going to lead the current generation of Japanese skaters, silently hits Minami-kun’s back. As in the scene where he pokes Victor’s head, once again Yuuri uses a physical action, instead of logic or words, to try to communicate something. When it’s animated it looks really awesome.

#6 Kaimaku Grand Prix Series Yacchaina!! Chuugoku Taikai SP
“Check out Chris’ sexiness”
The tournament starts and many fascinating athletes make their appearances, but this episode is also an occasion to fully enjoy the charm of Chris’ ass. After watching Kenji-sensei’s choreography I decided to draw a beautiful ass in my storyboard, then its charm was further emphasized in the animation, and finally thanks to the voice actor’s absolutely sexy voice we could obtain the best ass animation ever.

#7 Kaimaku Grand Prix Series Yacchaina!! Chuugoku Taikai FS
“An FSP where Yuuri and Victor overcome their fears”
Yuuri and Victor were both anxious before the FS, and I feel that the strongly emotional scenes following that were represented in a very effective way. Regarding the last scene, I started receiving lots of questions from overseas, asking “Did Yuuri and Victor hug? Or was it a kiss?” and that’s when I realized how much the anime’s popularity had spread worldwide.

#8 Yuuri VS Yuri Osoroshia!! Russia Taikai SP
“JJ’s striking appearance is a must see”
This episode is where Jean-Jacques Leroy, aka JJ, one of the most likely candidates to win the gold medal, appears. What is scary about JJ is that he has the ability to paint any story in JJ color, overshadowing even the protagonist. Mamoru Miyano-san, the one who played his role, managed to take JJ to the next level with his natural personality and made him all the more convincing.

#9 Yuuri VS Yuri Osoroshia!! Russia Taikai FS
“When the absence of an important person makes you grow”
This episode is where Yuuri grows after fighting without Victor next to him. When we went location hunting at the Fukuoka airport there was a glassed-in corridor close to the arrival lobby, and as the director saw it she excitedly said “Yuuri and Victor are going to run side by side separated by the glass!”. I was like “they definitely are!”, and we started taking heaps of pictures. The airport is currently being remodeled and it’s not possible to recreate the scene.

#10 Chou Ganbaranba! Grand Prix Final Chokuzen Special
“Ordinary life episode the night before the last fight”
As the last part depicting ordinary life before the Grand Prix Final, I wanted to create a relaxing episode without skating scenes while at the same time introducing the athletes, but in the end so many things happened in it that no one could relax and I was told that even animating it was a pain. The ring Yuuri gave Victor also carries the meaning of a symbol that the two of them are like soul mates.

#11 Chou Chou Ganbaranba!! Grand Prix Final SP
“The speed leading to the last episode is impressive to watch”
The OP footage, that was gradually changed from episode 1 by adding colors, is finally complete. I was happy that we could welcome as voice actors Ken Gamada-san, who actually works as an MC in tournaments and ice shows, and Nobunari Oda-san as himself doing the commentary. With the pace of the story speeding up toward the finale, this episode was just chaos.

#12 Chou Chou Chou Ganbaranba!!! Grand Prix Final FS
“A final episode where you can catch a glimpse of everyone’s future”
Including Stéphane Lambiel-san’s debut as an anime seiyuu, which is something no one could have expected, the chaotic mixup of anime and reality reaches a climax in this episode. Beside the sense of fulfillment for the victory, I think that the contents also let you catch a glimpse of each character’s future. I was about to faint looking at the beauty of Victor’s tears.


Final note (this is just my opinion, it’s not part of the translation): There is a translation going around where the line about soul mates is translated as “proof”, but actually the word 証 (akashi) can have many different meanings, among which symbol/mark/token/proof/sign etc. In this case, I personally do not think it means “proof” (also to be honest when it’s “proof” usually they write it as 証拠 shouko). It’s more like symbol/token, as in “it’s meant to symbolize Yuuri and Victor’s deep bond that goes beyond a normal relationship”. Although the difference is only subtle, I still think it’s not the same. Also please understand that the Japanese word “soul mate” does not have the meaning that is used in fanfiction… I believe it’s actually the same in English too, but in normal conversation it means “two people that have a strong spiritual/emotional bond (that makes them suited for each other, be it either as friends or lovers)”, not “two people who were destined to be together from their previous life”. That is something you are free to imagine or fantasize about, however please do not twist the creators’ words just to fit people’s headcanons…

P.S.: And please do not misunderstand me. I love Victuuri, but I prefer to draw a line between canon and fanon, and I don’t really like it when words by the creators are “adapted” to accomodate people’s shipping ideas. I think what she says is deep enough even without mistranslating it anyway…

Bathing With Taeyong

Taeil  -  Johnny  -  Taeyong  -  Yuta  -  Jaehyun  -  WinWin


Suggested: ‘Showering/Bathing with Taeyong scenario? Please and Thank-you! xoxo’

A/N: I thought about making this a real scenario, but-
- Admin Finn [is lazy]

Originally posted by 1aeyong

  • Cute™
  • It’d be utterly adorable
  • Even tho the both of you would be naked, awkwardly fiddling with your positions in the tub, it wouldn’t be sexual at all
  • It’d probably make you giggle, hearing his whiny tone as he plays in the water, dick in plain sight
  • He likes it when people take care of him- therefore, you’re going to be doing most of the work
  • He’d whine for you to wash his hair for him, enjoying the free scalp massage
  • He’d whine for a lot of things
    [He’d do that thing where he drawls out his voice, his brows furrowing slightly as he tries to hide his grin]
  • He’d raise his voice in irritation when soap got in his eye and would sulk in the tub, splashing the warm water upon his face
    “Ah! It stings!”
    “Stop! You’re getting water everywhere-”

  • He’d do a lot of cute shit, brushing his nose against your own as his affectionate gaze meets your own and he thanks you for preparing a bath
  • It’d be a social event most of the time, the two of you sharing stories about your days and so on
  • If he could, he’d spend hours in the tub with you, soaking in not only the water, but also one another’s presence 
  • He’d pull the ‘I’m tired’ card a lot and try to take a nap while leaning against you, your back pressed to the smooth ceramic of the tub, your chest flush with his back as he rests his head upon your shoulder
    “…You’re heavy-”
    “You’re comfy”
    “I mean it-”
    “Just stay like this for a little while… Then we can switch~”
    “This is something out of a shoujo manga-”

  • Usually the baths would just be ordinary baths, but on special occasions he’d add to the mood, adding bubbles and a few candles
  • Sex in the tub isn’t common, but it does happen on occasion; his cheeky remarks and playful gaze turning to low murmurs and the eyes™ his scrubs turning into gropes, etc…
  • After playing around for a while, whether innocent or not- he’s always the first to get out
  • He gets out first and wraps a towel around his slender waist sloppily before unfolding your towel, holding it open for you
  • It’s cliche, but he enjoys it and proudly thinks of himself as a gentleman as he drapes the towel around your shoulders, drying your arms gently
    “…Your towel fell-”
    “Ah, whoops”
    *Giggles*
    “Don’t look; who knew you were such a pervert-”
    “Says you”

Dear my once upon a time,

You’re running and I’m running and our ‘x’ is complete, we made our mark. You’ll be miles away and I’m never coming back. We’ll never meet again.

But please don’t forget me?

Don’t forget that girl who caught your eye and kept you for herself. That girl who spoke to you in whispers when the whole world was screaming at you. So ordinary, yet so special. That girl who kept you up till the whole world was asleep, till the noise died down, till all was silent, only her breath in your ear. That girl who didn’t talk much but knew you like the back of her hand. Don’t forget that girl who looked at you with her eyes big and wide, and all the chaos faded and the world seemed complete. That girl who got mad at you a hundred times, but loved you a hundred and one. That girl who knit your fingers together and refused to let go. Between passing days and fleeting moments, remember that girl you trusted the most. Don’t forget that girl who kept her hand on your chest, your hand on her chest, said she loves you “from here to there” and the earth stopped in its tilt. Don’t forget that girl who hugged you from behind when you were riding that night, city lights in your eyes, skin melting into skin. That girl you didn’t want to leave behind. She was her happiest when she was sitting on your lap, head on your shoulder, your smile in her hair: that girl you couldn’t live without.

Don’t forget her, 'cause I’m never forgetting you.

Signed,
Yours truly.

—  Lakshmi Nagaraj // Now I’m here and you’re there, but love will always stay, “from here to there”.
Color me happy

Originally posted by accio-fan-fiction

Fandom: Marvel
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x (Maximoff)reader
Genres: insecurity, mild angst, super fluff
Words: 1.710
Summary: You feel insecure and useless because of your lack of special abilities. Bucky notices it and comforts you - requested by Anonymous

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ya’ll... we gotta talk about this.

Nameless ~The One Thing You Must Recall~

ALL ABOARD THE FEELS TRAIN TO FEELSTOWN… FEELS TRAIN BOARDING NOW!

So, I just finished playing through every good ending for every route in Nameless. I accomplished this in a matter of three days. Three. Days. That’s how phenomenal this game is. I never thought anything would ever come close to my love for Mystic Messenger. Nameless blew me away. Everything about this game is beautiful. Beautiful art, beautiful soundtrack, beautiful voice acting, beautiful characters. I didn’t expect anything less from Cheritz. For those who aren’t familar with Nameless, it is a fully voiced visual novel-style game from Cheritz, the developers of the extremely popular mobile game Mystic Messenger. With Christmas basically here, I REALLY WANT EVERY ONE TO PURCHASE THIS GAME AND PLAY IT. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. I PINKY SWEAR. I’M GOING TO TRY AND CONVINCE YOU. 

The game description as found on Steam is:  “Eri (the name is replaceable) is a high school student and everything about her seems ordinary except she has a special hobby. Eri is into collecting ball-jointed dolls made from the doll company, Crobidoll. Although she treats her dolls like her real family, she cannot talk about them to even her "normal” best friends. With her parents living overseas, she was left all alone after her grandpa’s death. She started to rely on her dolls to escape from her loneliness. Then, one day, she had a dream about feathers coming out of her diary and when she woke up, she heard strange sounds coming from her kitchen…”

Now, let me just tell you. This game was full of emotions, just like Mystic Messenger. To be corny, it’s a literal roller-coaster of emotions. This game has made me feel really happy, this game has made me literally laugh out loud, and I have shed actual tears due to this game on multiple occasions. The characters are so precious and dear to me, and they all have their own individual problems. They are not perfect, they are flawed. Just like in reality, no one is perfect. I absolutely love games, ESPECIALLY otome games, that embrace that. And Cheritz is extremely good at this, as much in Nameless as in Mystic Messenger. I’ll tell you my opinions on the characters, of course with no spoilers, to further convince you to buy this game. I hate comparing characters, but for Mystic Messenger fans (AKA all of my followers), I will compare since I saw a lot of similarities.

Nameless’s MC, Eri | You can change the name to whatever name you wish in the beginning of the game. She is a freshman at her school, and she lives by herself in her grandfather’s house. Her parents are extremely busy and work overseas, so she lived with her grandfather from an early age. I really, really like this MC. I found her extremely relatable. She has such a gentle heart, but she has pessimistic tendencies and is mature for her age.

Lance | I really enjoyed Lance. He was Eri’s first ball-jointed doll, and the only one that was around when Eri’s grandpa was alive. He’s very smart, but he can be pretty cold at times. He is in the same freshman class as Eri, and is popular against his wishes. He doesn’t really express himself well in front of others. He acts like he doesn’t care about you, but actually cares a lot. He’s a classic tsundere. I couldn’t really compare him to anyone in MysMe personality wise, he’s his own person. I cried during his route.

Yeonho | Yeonho was Eri’s second doll. He had an owner before Eri, but he was sold at auction, with Eri as the winning bid. I absolutely LOVE Yeonho. He is so so so so so sweet. I want to love and protect him forever, the precious angel. I would definitely call him the Yoosung of Nameless. His voice even sounds similar to Yoosung. He is also in the same freshman class with Eri and Lance. He REALLY loves Eri, and is really attached to her. He’s 100% a yandere. He is also really popular at school and he is known as the Yellow Chick. I can’t really get to much into his character without spoiling anything.

Yuri | I like to call Yuri a Jumin-Zen hybrid, with some differences. He is very narcissistic and flirtatious, ESPECIALLY towards Eri. He is very fashion forward, and spends a lot of money on clothes and material items. Out of all the dolls, he appears the most mature physically. He enjoys music, and plays the drums really well. He teaches music at Eri’s school. He appears frivolous, but is actually pretty serious when is alone with Eri. Again, I can’t go into detail without spoiling. I cried during his route.

Tei | I think Tei is probably my favorite route, for many reasons that I can’t disclose without spoiling. I would compare him most to Jumin. He acts like the “mother/father” of the group, but he is actually very complicated. He is the most popular of the group at school, a sophomore, and works in a cafe part-time. I think that he has such a kind heart. I would say that he loves Eri the most out of everyone. Also a yandere. I definitely cried during his route.

Red | And lastly, we have darling Red, warrior of justice! Yes, I said “warrior of justice.” That wasn’t an error. Sounds like our dear defender of justice, Seven Zero Seven, doesn’t it? He reminds me SO MUCH of Seven sometimes, even his voice acting. He’s definitely his own person though. He’s innocent, kind of naive, and very slow at times. That just adds to his cuteness. He is full of energy and is bright like the sun. He loves online games and watching action shows about justice warriors. He believes that he will one day gain special powers. However, is his smile just a mask to hide how he really feels? His route… gosh. So many feels I felt like I was drowning. I definitely cried during his route. A lot. His route is also easily tied as my favorite with Tei’s.

IN CONCLUSION,

Please consider purchasing this beautiful masterpiece. It would make me so happy if you did. And Cheritz, 정말 고맙습니다. 사랑해.

[ENG] 170530 Hoshi’s Twitter Interaction With Fans

Opening tweet: [17’ Hoshi] CARATs~ Hello, I’m doing a mention party for the first time in a while *laughs* Those who want to party with me, please upload some tweets ><

Fan: Soonyoung-ah, what did you eat today???
HS: CARATs’ love?

Fan: I want to tell you thank you for existing.
HS: Thank you for making an ordinary me special *cries* I’ll work harder.

Fan: Soonyoung-ah, you’re cuter than Pikachu~~~~❤❤❤ (attached picture)
HS: *laughs* Pi~ka pika~!!!

Fan: What time is it? 💕
HS: It’s now 2:53.

Fan: Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?
HS: Nope, it was alright because I have wings ///~///

Fan: Your smile makes flowers grow 🌻🌷 (attached pictures)
HS: Chub-ster, it’s chub-ster ><
(T/N: Chub-ster = Chubby hamster)

cr: kass @ what17says
© take out only with credits

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Headcanon that the doctor checks up on you in your life sometimes to make sure you’re okay. That £10 you found in your pocket that you’d forgotten was in there? That was him. That thing you’d found that you’d thought you’d lost? That was him. He’s always there, watching, to make sure you’re okay. You never see him but sometimes you see a flash of blue from the corner of your eye, and it’s just enough to make you smile. Look up at the sky sometimes… It’s enough for him to know that you know. All those tears you cry at the regeneration from your favourite to a new one… He saw them and he cried for you, too. You’re no ordinary human. You’re special and he cares for you, in his own little ways. Those words you say to him in your mind, the yearning you feel for your own adventure in the TARDIS, the daydreams of hugging him and feeling him hug back… He hears those words, those wishes, he sees those daydreams… And he knows. He’s lonely up there in that blue box of his, that gorgeous TARDIS, but seeing you when he can, hearing your hopes and your wishes… It puts a small smile on his face, and one day he may even fulfill your wish of seeing him, even if he’s in disguise of the celebrity playing the latest regeneration at a Con. The Doctor knows all, and he’ll never forget you.

Debunking undercover Jon ?

“ I’m going to preface this essay by quickly stating that I’m going to try to remain unbiased. This is neither pro-Jonerys or anti-Jonsa. I’m going to try to talk about this just using storytelling and film analysis. This theory that is floating around doesn’t work when contrasted to the usual methods of storytelling and plot twists that GRRM and D&D have employed throughout this series. Jon undercover doesn’t work and is a failed plot device.

So what is the basic idea of Undercover Jon? For those that don’t know, it’s that during the entirety of Season 7, Jon Snow was infiltrating Daenerys’ base camp and swaying her to his side, seeking to gain her aid, her armies and her dragons in the fight to come. He used any means necessary, one of them being the long con. He’s playing the game essentially, acting as a double agent. His loyalty is to the North and he is manipulating Dany, telling her what she wants to hear and influencing her emotions so she feels compelled to help him.

What it boils down to is that Jon is deceiving her and it will be revealed in some great plot twist in Season 8.

Okay, so now that we’ve established the idea, why doesn’t it work?

Let’s begin with the basic idea of suspense as outlined by Alfred Hitchcock, the master himself:

“There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise,” and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean.

We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o'clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!”

In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.”

So why is this detailed quote important? Because this is something that is often employed by storytellers, specifically those in film based media. You can get away with shocking twists, but you need to let the audience in on the secret in someway. The most common means is foreshadowing, whether direct foreshadowing or indirect. We have two different examples of this in the show specifically.

Let’s start with direct foreshadowing for one of the more shocking moments to happen in the first seasons, Ned Stark being betrayed by Littlefinger. Since then, we’ve learned not to trust or believe Baelish in most everything he does, but there was a time when we were still uncertain about him, naive and innocent. However, we were given a direct warning from the start, around the time that Ned was investigating Jon Arryn’s death. Littlefinger told the audience what we needed to know:

Littlefinger: “Distrusting me was the smartest thing you’ve done since coming off of your horse.”

We were informed that Baelish was someone we shouln’t believe and there was something about him that was dangerous and untrustworthy. A number of people didn’t (much like Ned) because we were lulled into thinking that Ned was the hero of the story rather than a false protagonist. So when Littlefinger held a knife to Ned’s throat, saying: “I did warn you not to trust me.”

It was genuinely surprising.

Direct foreshadowing is letting the audience in on the secret, setting up a big reveal that will happen. It might be subtle, but it is there, something we can point to later. It’s a conversation that we were privy to, which is extremely important for any type of long con of this nature.

Let’s compare with indirect foreshadowing, which is symbolism and tiny clues that we, as detectives are to go over.

One of the biggest reveals in the show overall was R+L=J. Jon is the hidden prince, the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna and this bombshell was saved for the climax of the show, Season 7′s (technically Season 6′s) finale. It came out of nowhere and was such a shocking twist!

…Or was it?

There was no conversation with the audience in the same way we had with Littlefinger, but the evidence was there from the beginning: Ned never speaking of Jon’s mother, Ned’s defense of the Targaryens and the murder of children. My personal favorite evidence of indirect foreshadowing was the little easter egg of Jon standing next to a pillar with the letters “RL” on it.

Literally: RLJ (R+L=J).

We have had the evidence sprinkled from the start, it was clearly there, but it was a matter of recognizing it or piecing the clues together. It wasn’t so well hidden that no one saw it coming. In fact, GRRM said once in an interview:

“At least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I’d planted in the books and came to the right solution… So what do I do then? Do I change it?! I wrestled with that issue and I came to the conclusion that changing it would be a disaster, because the clues were there. You can’t do that, so I’m just going to go ahead.”

Again, this was something that was supposed to be subtle, but we had the clues available to us. GRRM does not spring anything on the audience and neither do D&D, the character motives are pretty well spilled out from the beginning. If a major character makes plans to go through with some form of deception, then we are made privy to those plans, allowed in on the conversation.

There has been no direct foreshadowing for Jon to go undercover and manipulate Dany. We have not been given a conversation that discusses the idea. The last time Jon infiltrated a group to receive information, there was something to alert the audience that this was the direction he was going.

First, we have Halfhand’s advice to Jon shortly after they were captured:

Jon: “They died because of me.”

Halfhand: “See that it wasn’t for nothing.”

Then we are shown the setup for the plan:

Halfhand: Mance is gonna march on the Wall. When he does, one brother inside his army will be worth 1000 fighting against it.

Jon: They’ll never trust me.

Halfhand: They might, if you do what needs to be done.

We are directly told that Jon will begin infiltrating the Wildlings, which is followed closely by Halfhand building up Jon to be a traitor. It culminates in a fight where Halfhand sacrifices himself and instigates Jon to kill him. Only that way is the deception complete and Jon is given access to the Wildlings.

Even in the books, the set up for this is directly told to the reader with Halfhand giving this quote:

“Then hear me. If we are taken, you will go over to them, as the wildling girl you captured once urged you. They may demand that you cut your cloak to ribbons, that you swear them an oath on your father’s grave, that you curse your brothers and your Lord Commander. You must not balk, whatever is asked of you. Do as they bid you … but in your heart, remember who and what you are. Ride with them, eat with them, fight with them, for as long as it takes. And watch.“ - A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon VIII.

Let’s compare this to another situation and another big reveal, Roose Bolton’s betrayal of Robb in the Red Wedding. This didn’t come as a complete surprise because the audience was shown that Roose was beginning to turn, specifically during his scenes with Jaime. Rather than capture Jaime and return him to Robb, as he would be expected to, he releases Jaime and sends him back to the Lannisters. They are cordial (enough) with each other and we are given a glimpse into Roose’s desire to find the best deal for himself.

When he stabs Robb, we already knew that he was colluding with the Lannisters, even if we didn’t know the exact means he would betray Robb or what he would receive from them.

So now let’s look at Season 7 Jon. In the episodes before and after his arrival on Dragonstone, we were not told directly that he is infiltrating Daenerys’ camps or attempting to repeat his previous deception with the Wildlings. There is no conversation similar to what he shared with Halfhand and no moments that the audience were left to feel suspense for him in being discovered.

Remember, when Jon is with the Wildlings, there are several moments where they doubt his loyalty and the stakes are upped for him. In the books, Mance orders Jon to sleep with Ygritte to prove his loyalty. In the show, he’s questioned by almost every Wildling he comes across. Even Ygritte displays an awareness that Jon is playing her and we have another instance of direct foreshadowing.

Ygritte: “Don’t ever betray me.”

Nothing like this exists in Season 7. We have Sansa urging Jon to be smarter than Robb and Ned, to listen to advice, but that was culminated in Jon placing Sansa in charge of Winterfell, showing his trust in her abilities and advice. This is when Jon and Sansa begin separate journeys in Season 7. Sansa’s journey is her ability to enter the game and come up against a more seasoned manipulator, Littlefinger.

Jon’s arc this season has been preparing for the coming war, something that Daenerys is clearly meant to be part of as Melisandre said herself:

Melisandre: “I believe you have a role to play, as does another.

We are even shown in the first episode the different threats that Jon and Sansa will be dealing with separately. Jon believes the greatest threat is the Night King, while Sansa believes it is the people who play the Game of Thrones. Throughout the series and novels, these two have been on these two separate arcs. Jon has nothing to do with King’s Landing, as his story has always tied in to the Others. Sansa’s has always had to do with the Lannisters and Baelish.

For Jon to suddenly become involved in the Game of Thrones, we would need some sort of foreshadowing, either indirect or direct that this is a method he would use.

So what evidence do we have about Jon’s character in Season 7?

Let’s start with the first episode. Jon is sitting in judgement on Alys Karstark and Ned Umber, deciding if he should punish them for their father’s treachery. With all of his men and sister telling him to take their lands away and give them to someone else, what does Jon do?

Jon: “I will not punish a son for his father’s sins.”

This is a use of direct foreshadowing because this is repeated in Ep. 3:

Dany: “I ask you not to judge a daughter by the sins of her father.”

We the audience have been shown that Jon will not judge someone for the actions and cruelties of their parents, it doesn’t come as a surprise then that he is willing to extend a bit of faith and trust in Daenerys, as he did with Alys Karstark and Ned Umber. He will focus instead on the coming war rather than rewarding or punishing as leadership sometimes dictates.

The entire focus of his council is to begin preparations and training for the army he will need.

What about Jon asking the advice of others or taking council, something he is criticized for in the first episode?

Well, he has a moment of asking Sansa’s opinion about Tyrion and his character, a parallel to the moment in Season 6 when she pointed out that she was not asked about what sort of man Ramsay is. He learned his lesson in that and asked Sansa’s opinion.

However, we are shown that it doesn’t always relate to what he is going to do. Jon makes his own decisions and acts as he thinks is best. He makes the decision to go south and parlay with Daenerys, all without consulting his men before hand or even alerting Sansa to his decision. Even when they protest, it is clear he has made up his mind.

What can we take from this scene? Is he going south to manipulate Daenerys?

The evidence says no. There has been no buildup for it, no evident payoff and no clues left for the audience to glean that this is his intention. Jon is capable of deception, but deception without clues and foreshadowing? That’s not likely.

Let’s return to the idea of suspense. We are given no stakes to invest in. The only concrete plan we have is: Daenerys has an army and dragons, Jon needs to convince Daenerys to use army and dragons in the coming war. That’s it. Nothing else has been established or said beyond that. Instead, we have the characters directly telling us how that alliance will be achieved. Tyrion says it himself in Ep. 3:

Tyrion: Give him something by giving him nothing. Take a step toward a more productive relationship with a possible ally.

Compromise is the key for them to forge an alliance. The terms of that compromise are even clearer in Ep. 6. Convince Cersei to join the coming war rather than to continue fighting Daenerys at present, thus creating a truce and allowing everyone to face the greater threat. Daenerys temporarily gives up her claims on the throne, Jon bends the knee. Very simply spelled out and it even comes with a side of suspense, as our focus is now on whether or not they can convince Cersei.

The questions about Jon/Dany’s alliance or even winning her help are concluded in Ep. 6. We are told by Daenerys: “we will do it together, you have my word.” The filmmakers and show runners do not add anything in to clue us, the audience, that we have reason to doubt her in this or there is any reason Jon would need to keep convincing her. There is no look shared between Tyrion and Daenerys, no conversation with Jon worrying about if Dany can be trusted. These clues are important to storytelling because, as I stated a few times before, suspense is key.

The only twists that we have coming our way are Cersei’s treachery, Jon’s parentage and the revelation about Jon and Dany’s relationship. All you need to do is look at how each of these moments were set up, showing us that these would be important conflicts in the next season.

Jon’s Parentage:

Bran and Sam talk about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s marriage, while we are shown the flashbacks, allowing us to see that this is true. Just like Bran, we are part of the visions. Afterwards, it is directly stated: “He needs to know the truth.” There is no surprise in this, no twist that we can’t see coming. Jon will eventually be told the truth.

Jon/Dany’s Relationship:

As Jon enters Dany’s cabin, Tyrion comes from out of the shadows, revealing he has witnessed and guessed what is about to happen. As Jon and Dany make love, there is a closeup on Tyrion’s face, clear displeasure there as he returns to his rooms. Again, we are shown that there is conflict brewing. Tyrion doesn’t approve of what is happening and we are aware that it will likely come up in some way.

Cersei’s Betrayal:

This one is key, especially in contrasting Jon’s possible deception. We have Cersei come to the Dragonpit and declare that she agrees to the terms of the truce and that she is summoning her men to come and aid in the fight. Our heroes feel relief and leave, they are convinced that she will keep her word.

The next scene with Cersei has her coming in while Jaime plans on the army’s route to Winterfell. The following conversation allows us to see that Cersei has no intention of keeping her word. She ridicules Jaime for meaning to fight with them, she lays out her plan and spells it out for us. What’s more, none of this is a surprise when we compare it to her other moments this season, specifically when it comes to the insurmountable odds that she is up against.

When told she can’t beat Dany’s dragons and armies, Cersei doesn’t back down, saying that she will continue to fight. Underhanded methods have been shown to be Cersei’s M.O, as we saw in Season 6. Again, visual clues that she might act in a dishonorable, sneaky way.

She hears that she can’t beat Dany’s dragons and army? What does she do? She goes back on her word to let the army be dwindled down or wiped out by a separate threat. We had foreshadowing and clues that this would happen, it doesn’t come out of nowhere to surprise us. There is even a conversation that this is the plan and this is what she is doing.

So what can we take from all of this? What I hope you gather is that twists don’t come out of nowhere, that they are built upon and clues are left to alert us that something like this is a probability, whether direct or indirect. We, in some form, need to be told that this is something that is happening and conflict will come from that.

There is no evidence supporting Jon being undercover, not in filmmaking and not in storytelling. Whether you believe it or not is up to you, but the evidence is always right there in front of us and it isn’t present here.”


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I think one of my favorite things about Zexal is that fact that, as far as anyone else is concerned, Yuma is ordinary.  He’s not special to them.  He’s easy to overlook.  He’s not their main enemy, he’s barely someone of consequence as far as they can see.  Even Kaito, the rival character of the series, completely ignores him and says that only Astral is his enemy.

Before now, every other protagonist has been special in some way.  Has been specifically targeted by the enemy.  Yugi might have started out ordinary but as soon as he took on the spirit of the Millennium Puzzle, he was someone that people looked at.  Enemies were drawn to him.  Judai was always attracting trouble for the fact that he was Judai; every enemy targeted him specifically in some way.  And Yusei was being watched by Godwin and Yliaster long before his main story even began, before he was even confirmed as a Signer.

Yuma was not. Yuma was just ignored.  He wasn’t seen as anyone special, anyone worth noticing.  As far as it seems to anyone else, he’s an outsider to this conflict.  Someone who just kind of happened to end up in the middle of it, but no one of any real consequence.  The only time he seemed to be noticed was in relation to other people and things; his relationship to Astral, the fact that he had a Number, etc.

But Yuma proves them all wrong.

He proves to everyone over and over that he is the person that everyone should have been watching.  He proves that he’s more than just a bystander or an outsider.

Everyone ignored him.  He wasn’t special.  At least, no one else thought he was.

But that didn’t matter to Yuma.  It didn’t matter that this was a fight that everyone thought he had no place being a part of.  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t “important.”  He had to make himself special, to make himself be noticed.  He had to work towards becoming the hero of his own story.  And dammit, whatever your impressions of Zexal are, he did.  He became the hero and he became the hero on his own terms.

And that’s just really inspiring to me.

Cashiering

Ordinary day, nothing special. Customer comes up to my 15-item express lane with about 30 items, good start. Last few items, I grab a bag of cilantro that is tied off and filled with air. I go to place it on the scale….she snatches it out of my hands and says “the air will add to the weight and I will not pay for that” she then unties the bag and empties the air out. ***disbelief***