Learning Japanese?? I was originally going to review LingoDeer’s Chinese lessons next, but I was contacted by the team who developed the app and the lessons after the read my review on the Korean course. They asked if I was learning Japanese and, if so, if I could do a similar review for the Japanese course (please note that I have never done any sort of sponsored review or anything like that; I review what I want and I review them honestly). I said I would, so here we are! Maybe this will get me back on track with studying Japanese, anyway. Those of you who were around during this blog’s early stages will remember I was studying Japanese for a while, but I had to abandon it because I just didn’t have enough time ㅠㅠ Welp, it’s time to start again!
I do want to note that, other than the obvious language difference between this review and my review of LingoDeer’s Korean course, there is also a huge difference in my perspective between both of these reviews. Having studied Korean for over seven years now, my LingoDeer Korean review was done more from a been-there-done-that perspective. A lot of my intuition as not only a long-term Korean learner but also a Korean grammar blogger and a language teacher went into it. However, I am nowhere near the same level in Japanese, so this review is written from much more of a beginning learner perspective, with a bit of my teacher brain as far as what is and isn’t effective for language learning thrown in.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s jump on in!
What is LingoDeer?
LingoDeer is a language-learning app for the three major east Asian languages, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. It is developed by teachers of those three languages, so that’s pretty cool!
Very first impressions
As I said in my review of LingoDeer (Korean), the LingoDeer app’s design and interface is very clean and visually appealing. I do get some loading screens still, but none of them are super long unless I’m on my home Wifi. I’d been thinking about maybe getting a new, stronger router anyway…
Learning Hiragana and Katakana
You can start with learning Hiragana and Katakana, or you can just skip it and go straight to learning the actual grammar and other material. For the sake of this review (and since my Katakana memory has always been pretty bad), I did the Hiragana and Katakana courses. Before you start a level in the Alphabet section, you can flip a toggle for whether you want to learn Hiragana or Katakana. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter since they are presented together and you will be asked to match the corresponding Hiragana and Katakana. I have actually never used a source that teaches them together in this way, and I really like it because it made it easier for me to remember the Katakana. The main differences between doing one writing system vs. the other (for example, choosing to do them in Katakana mode instead of Hiragana) is that you will only be presented with stroke order diagrams for the set you chose, and they will occur more frequently. At the end of the day, the choice is yours.
Again, the sound files in this app are really great, so you can hear the sounds very clearly. My only real issue with the Hiragana/Katakana-learning exercises is when you have to match multiple pairs at once. There are a few screens like that at the end of each level, and if you want to hear the readout of the sounds as you do them, you have to flip a toggle on the screen because the sound is off by default. Since this is a language learning app, I really think it would make more sense to have the sound on by default. Also, you have to flip the toggle every new screen rather than flipping it once and that being your setting for the level. Having to flip it every single time just to get the automatic audio got annoying pretty quickly.
Just as the Korean course had extensive Hangul charts, there are interactive Hiragana and Katakana charts in the Japanese course. You can click on the individual spaces to have the sounds read out, which I liked. However, there seems to be a little bug such that sometimes when I go to the charts they don’t read out when I press the spaces. In those cases, I have to restart the app for the charts to work properly.
Finally, there are notes explaining the Japanese writing system, and they’re quite extensive! This app certainly does give a lot of information.
Getting in to learning
This app is currently structured 100% for beginners in the sense that you must start with the first level. There is no way to test up into a higher level. This test up feature is there in other comparable apps, so its absence here is very noticeable. Until such a function is (hopefully) added in, anyone who wants to use this app will have to obligatorily do the lower levels first regardless of their skill level.
All of the actual learning levels have grammar notes at the beginning, which you can access if you swipe to the tile left of the first lesson tile. I think it would make more sense to have the notes tile be the first one you see, as it is easy to miss and the notes give a ton of important information that beginning learners really should read. The notes are detailed and very helpful, but there are some typos here and there, and I noticed some unusual Romaji (though I’m not sure if it’s just that they were using a different Romaji system… are there multiple Romaji systems??). The word for “China,” which I had always seen before in Romaji as “ch(y)uugoku,” was written as “tyuugoku,” which threw me off.
When you get into the learning levels, you can choose how you want writing to be displayed, and there are a TON of options! You can go for full on normal Japanese writing with the Kanji and all, Kanji with Hiragana (my setting), Hiragana only, Romaji only, Hiragana and Romaji… you can choose what would suit your needs best and adjust as you become more comfortable reading Japanese.
As for actually learning, there is a variety of activities including word-picture matching, listening and choosing the right answer, inserting grammatical elements into the right places, and unscrambling sentences, and more. The only thing that I really wish the learning levels has is some speaking practice! I’ve said it many, many times before, but HelloChinese is a similarly structured app that has speaking practice built into all of its levels. If LingoDeer also had it, I would be so happy~ Also, as I mentioned in my LingoDeer (Korean) review, this app is fairly quiet in the sense that it does not automatically read out sentences for you on some screens, and there is no indication given that you can access audio for those screens. It would be nice if there was maybe a little play button to make it clear that you can hear audio on those screens with no auto play, or maybe an overall option (that could be toggled on or off as you please, of course) for automatic audio playback.
One other little bone I have to pick is that, when doing syllable-by-syllable unscrambling of sentences, the app starts indicating what the first syllable you pick should be within about three seconds. Maybe some people like the hints, but I could do without them for sure. I would be happy if the time to hinting was increased, or if there was a toggle to turn it off completely.
Upon completion of a level, you can get up to five stars. When you first start studying, you set a goal for how many stars you want to get each day, and if you choose the lowest possible number (five) and do a single level perfectly, your study for the day is complete.
The biggest error I have seen in this course so far is that the notes in the “Household” section (as far as I got so far) are missing ㅠㅠ I sent a report in, so hopefully that’s fixed soon. Considering how responsive the LingoDeer team has been to me so far, I’m fairly confident it will be fixed soon.
Overall, I like the structure of the lessons and the pacing. I could definitely see myself using this app long term!
Review and stats
(This section is more or less copypasta from my previous review, so feel free to skip it if you read that one!)
If you want to go back and review vocab or grammar flashcards, there is a section where you can do that. The review questions are the same as the regular level questions. You can choose to do a single lesson, or you can combine lessons for a comprehensive review. Also, there is spaced repetition listening practice, which is pretty cool. You can choose how you want the words and sentences presented, with Japanese, the English translation, or just the audio and no writing. After listening, you can reveal the correct answer and rate your recall/performance “weak,” “good,” or “perfect.” You can also choose if you want a word or sentence-focused review. Seems like a good feature.
As for stats, you can check how long your learning streak has been ongoing, and it even tells you how long you have studied for. There are some little achievement badges for things like learning time and streaks also. You can also set a time for reminders to study if you would like. However, I notice that the app is not synced to your phone’s clock but some other clock, perhaps that of the server it’s hosted on. So, for example, if I use the app in the morning here in Korea, it will still count any stars I get to the previous day since the app’s date hasn’t rolled over yet. There is not an option to change the app’s clock to sync to your time zone as far as I can tell.
Oh, and there is offline learning! You can download the course take it with you if you are, say, going on a flight or off to some remote area where there is no internet or cell service!
LingoDeer’s Japanese course is really fun and easy to use! The grammar notes are very informative, and the lessons are not too heavy so they don’t feel burdensome or intimidating to a new learner. The pros and cons:
GREAT audio files
Lots of good notes and information on grammar
Spaced repetition practice and flashcards
Lessons that are informative and useful without being overwhelming
As a Newsie, former student, and avid reader, Davey Jacobs knew just how important the right words were. He understood that words held the key to things like a sharp mind and a happy heart.
Despite this, he always found himself boggled and frustrated by the single word on his wrist: your name.
It was bold, typewriter font. It reminded him of a headline, the headline of the most interesting and intricate story. He liked to think that he’d sell fresh out of that story, even if he bought every issue himself just to read about you again. Davey liked to trace the familiar letters with his finger under the dinner table, or sing your name under his breath as he stood on the street selling newspapers.He imagined doing things that he’d read young men do in novels. He wanted to buy you flowers, and take you out dancing, and take you by the waist and kiss you softly.
Only if you liked that kind of thing, though.
“Please, [name]. Just go buy the bread and then you can come right home and plop back into your chair. It would be a big help,” your mother begged. With a nod, you headed out with your novel under your arm- leaving the house without a good book was almost taboo, in your eyes.
It was nice outside, and not too busy on the street. You enjoyed the quiet as opposed to the usual bustling city sounds.
“You know, I really do hope you like to read, David,” you smiled to yourself, peering at your wrist as you opened to a random page. “It would be an absolute shame if you didn’t.” You giggled. You liked to imagine what your soulmate was like. Did he like picnics? Was he tall? How did he feel about eggnog? Was he a cat or a dog person?
Your mind was clouded with such thoughts as you walked along the sidewalk and read. Your parents scolded you for such a thing, but you knew you had it under control.
“Miss, watch out!” A young man warned suddenly, and you looked up at him. Time seemed to slow as you met his eyes before shutting your own, feeling yourself fall before coming to an abrupt stop.
“I’ve got you, miss. You can open your eyes.” The boy stood you upright, keeping his hand on your back.
You opened your eyes slowly, and he gave you two thumbs up. His eyes were soft and brown, warm and inviting. You could have gotten lost in them easily.
“Oh, Pride and Prejudice, huh?” He read the cover as he picked up your book and his newspapers, which he’d dropped as he went to catch you. “It’s quite the read,” he rubbed the back of his neck with an eager nod.
“Quite,” you repeated, happy to see someone who shared your taste in literature.
“I love novels like that. Then again, I really do enjoy an adventure from right here in New York. I guess it always has been the place where dreams come true, don’t you think, miss?” He took a solemn glance at the newspapers in his hand before shoving them in his bag.
“For some people, I guess. And please, call me [name],” you insisted.
The boy’s heart fluttered. That name. It sounded so much prettier rolling off of your tongue than any of the million times he’d sounded it out himself. Like an angel choir or a piano in a foyer.
But how was Davey to know that you were his soulmate? Anyone on the street could have that name, hypothetically speaking. Maybe the statistics didn’t make it extremely probable, but he knew it was possible.
“I’m Davey,” he tipped his cap, studying your face for a reaction. You simply nodded, repeating the name in your head. It was close. So, so close.
“Nice to meet you, Davey,” you smiled politely.
The two of you stood in silence for a second, but as Davey went to fill it, he was interrupted by a small boy that had come running up to him.
“I’ve just sold my last pape!” He beamed.
“Its been a rough day, Les. I’ve still got four left.” Davey frowned, obviously discouraged by the fact.
“I’ve got it, big bro,” Les reassured, digging into his bag with a toothy grin and a wave before scurrying off.
“What a cutie!” You giggled, watching him fake pout at a man.
“Try living with him,” Davey chuckled. “Now, I should be getting home. Les works quick,” he started rummaging through his bag, pulling out a little book. “Try this,” he smiled.
You turned it over in your hands. It was The Count of Monte Christo.
“Wow… thank you. How will I return it to you?”
“I’m out here selling papers each and every day. Shouldn’t be that difficult. I’ve also got friends all over these streets. Just ask around for Davey Jacobs,” he nodded with a warm smile.
“Then I’ll see you around, Davey Jacobs.”
“It was nice meeting you, [name]”
You’d gotten the bread, and were comfortably curled up in your favorite chair. As Pride and Prejudice came to an end, you couldn’t help but glance at the book still sticking out of your bag. An amused smile graced your lips as you picked it up, fingers dancing along the spine. It was clear to see that Davey kept his books in a good condition, as they should be. You knew he’d make a great soulmate to some beautiful girl someday.
He just wasn’t yours, it seemed.
You opened it to the inside cover, and you could have sworn your breath hitched. In the top left corner, it was neatly written in beautiful cursive.
You let that sink in, trying to interpret what it meant. David was a common name. If you were his soulmate, wouldn’t he have said something when you introduced yourself? It just didn’t add up. And yet, you felt it. You felt the need to go see him. To hold him. To love him. You began formulating a plan to see him tomorrow, and the image of his gentle eyes and kind smile were burned into your busy mind.
The next morning, you set out on the streets of New York. You really didn’t think it would be as easy as it was, but there he stood on the street corner, fidgeting as he tried to sell the stack of newspapers in his arms.
“Could I have a paper?” You giggled, holding out a dime.
“[Name],” Davey gaped. His heart felt warm, and it showed. “You finished already?” He tilted his head in admiration. He was head over heels for you, and was set on you being his for the rest of time.
“Much better. I’ve got you a headline, it’ll sell those papers like hotcakes.” You took a step closer, making the boy confused. “This just in: David Jacobs unites with his soulmate, and they live happily ever after!” you gush, pulling up your sleeve and holding it out for him to see.
Davey binked once. Twice.
“Can I kiss you, miss?” He bit his lip, shifting a little.
You nodded, and next thing you knew, his soft lips touched yours. He held you gently, newspapers still in his arms, and he was more gentle than a feather on a blanket.
“This….I think this is my new favorite story,” Davey caught his breath, kissing his name on your wrist.
More fic recs for you fabulous fannibals, this time round there’s rare pairs a-plenty, actual devil Will Graham, and a fabulous Pacific Rim crossover AU
The Marriage of
Heaven and Hell: Volume 1 by @fragile-teacup (fragile-teacup (Mrs_Gene_Hunt)):
So what are the chances that Will and Hannibal emerge from the Atlantic with
all their issues resolved, finally a stable unit, murder husbands for life?
Pretty much none, right? Certainly, in this beautifully-written post-TWotL fic,
there is still a massive amount of that typical Hannigram miscommunication,
obfuscation and downright stubbornness that keeps our boys from their happy
ending. None of which is made better by Hannibal keeping Will sedated while he
recovers from his injuries, or by sequestering them in the house of the one
person guaranteed to drive Will out of his mind with jealousy… Centred on that
dinner hinted at by the post-credits scene in TWotL, this winds the tension
between Will and Hannibal (and Bedelia) to a fever pitch, in an absolute riot
of bitchiness, resentment and pining. And then busts everything wide open when
Will just can’t keep his emotions under wraps any longer…
Tomorrow, More Sun by @shiphitsthefan: Beardogs (Nigel/Lee) is a new pairing for me but it took
precisely five paragraphs of this fantastic fic to make me fall in love. For
those who aren’t aware, Lee is the Hugh from the infamous “I like bears” gif,
and more specifically is an adorable ball of sass and joy who loves wine and is
suffering from terminal cancer (but don’t worry, this is very much not an
angsty story). Anyway, our tale begins when Lee is suffering from the worst
post-chemo effects of his life and, desperate for relief, begs his dealer – a
certain formerly very bad man from Bucharest – to drive out in the snow and
provide him with a hit. Now, I mentioned the part where Lee likes bears, right?
And there’s no-one more bearlike than Nigel – even “New Nigel,” who’s had to
reform his ways (a little) as a result of the bullet in his brain landing him
in a wheelchair – and Lee is, unsurprisingly, infatuated. There follows a
charming and romantic tale of getting high, telling wicked jokes, and maybe,
just maybe, falling in love (but definitely getting the best shag of either
To Fuel Your Radiance
by @fancybedelia (GoldenUsagi): Mischa Lecter should have died. Should
have… and did, except that her brother made a deal with the devil. Hannibal’s
soul in exchange for Mischa’s life. Some forty years later, the devil pays
Hannibal a visit (disguised as a rather handsome, blue-eyed man named Will) in
order to see what he’s done with his life. And, as is the Hannigram way, a
mutual interest quickly turns to something much more twisted and obsessive. The
brilliant thing about this AU is that, despite being a devilishly sexy
(literally), self-assured, phenomenally powerful version of himself, Will is
still Will. He’s not some malevolent, flamboyant devourer of souls, he’s still
conflicted and weighed down by the nature of what he is. Which leaves Hannibal
to take up the role of tempter (yes, even to the Devil himself), drawing Will
into killing with him (which, admittedly, takes much less effort with this
version!) and falling helplessly in love with the beast that emerges.
Ugly by @slashyrogue
(nightliferogue): We as a fandom should be immensely grateful to count
slashy as one of our number. She turns out a frankly staggering number of AUs
and rare pair fics (in addition to her wonderful Hannigram works) and they are
all, without exception, imaginative and beautifully written. Recently she’s
been writing a lot of Basic Chickens and this, her most recent (at the time of
writing) might be the best yet. When Elias finds a strange, black egg in
amongst the chickens, his superstitious brothers order him to smash it, fearing
it contains a demon. Elias (of course, this is Elias) refuses, and tends to the
egg until it hatches, revealing a small, black, winged monster, which Elias
decides to keep, christening it “Ugly.”
Which is all well and good until it turns out that Ugly also sometimes takes
the form of a man (quickly renamed Adam) whose determined seduction of Elias
has worrying, potentially dangerous side-effects. This is Basic Chickens with a
brilliant supernatural twist and the story is sexy, sweet, constantly
surprising and very, very much worth your time.
Stricken by @crossroadscastiel (peacefrog): So say, instead of landing on the rocks at
the bottom of that cliff, Will and Hannibal instead land in a completely
different universe, one where everything seems to be the same, except that
they’re not dead from their horrifying injuries. Seems like a win, right? Oh,
except there’s the little issue of Hannibal suddenly producing slick and the
pair of them needing to shag like bunnies every five minutes or they’ll
explode. Yep, the boys are not in Baltimore anymore, they’re in an omegaverse,
Hannibal’s in heat, and if they can stop knotting each other’s brains out for
long enough, they’re going to need to have a serious talk about feelings. Wanna
bet how well that turns out? This is such a fun exploration of the omegaverse
concept, with our intrepid murder husbands utterly baffled by what’s happening
to them and how they can deal with it. It’s also sexy and sweet as hell – if you’re
not into a/b/o, give this a shot, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t change your
Ananta by @unicornmagic (canis_m): A what-if
fic, with the what-if in question being ‘how might things have gone, had
Hannibal not rubber-stamped Will back into the field but instead recommended hereceive further treatment. Oh, and
asked him on a date while he’s at it.’ Well, in this ‘verse, it means Will
stays away from murder scenes while Hannibal takes his place, that Will starts therapy
with a certain blonde ice-queen, and Will has to navigate the beginnings of a
relationship with Hannibal while contemplating when he should reveal that he’s
asexual. This is a beautifully-paced, patiently crafted exploration of the
complex relationship between these two characters and the ways in which they
fit together with each other unlike with anyone else. Will’s asexuality is
written with grace and sensitivity, as the writer explores the other, less
obvious intimacies that he and Hannibal share. If you need something lovely in
your life, read this.
The Best of All
Possible Worlds by @desperatelyseekingcannibals (TigerPrawn): Mortimer
(from Hysteria) is one of my
favourite Hugh roles, so I’m always delighted when the adorable, slightly
bumbly doctor turns up in a fic. And this one is so much fun, pairing Mortimer
with Galen from Rogue One (via
some timey-wimey shenanigans that land Galen back in ye olde England) and
developing a very sweet romance between the two, even as they try to figure out
how to get Galen home. These are two of the most decent characters in the
madancy back catalogue and they work really wonderfully together, Mortimer’s
eager earnestness nicely grounded by Galen’s steadiness. Plus I was very
pleasantly surprised by how much chemistry the characters have together – not to
put to fine a point on it, but they’re wicked hot XD. The rare pairs phenomenon
is truly the gift that keeps on giving and this is one of my favourite ships to
come out of it, please do hop on board and prepare to be totally charmed.
A Way to Live by @sugarmaus (Sugarmouse): Hannibal Lecter is in the market for a new slave.
He goes through them quickly, always on the lookout for some elusive something
that even Hannibal doesn’t seem able to define. When he spots Will Graham in
the dealer’s catalogue, he thinks there’s a chance he may have found it, and
when he sees the man in the flesh he is almost certain of it. But Hannibal soon
learns an important lesson: Never Underestimate Will Graham. And so begins a
complex, high-stakes game of shifting identities and hidden desires between
master and slave, with Hannibal’s rigid control slipping further and further as
he loses himself to his fascination with getting inside Will’s mind.
Essentially an AU in which Hannibal can buy and dispose of murder interns
instead of influencing them via therapy this is a sharp and intense character
study of our darling cannibal. Hannibal’s ennui and loneliness are front and
centre here as he both strives to gain control over Will and hopes that he will
not be able to. It’s fascinating, compelling, intelligent stuff, with more than
a few surprises up its sleeves.
Fais Do-Do by @moku-youbi: Will is on the run. He has lost control and shot a man, and
now he’s tasted blood for the first time and Jack Crawford is on his tail.
Which is how he winds up staying at The Little Bear Inn, owned by Mischa Lecter
and currently being run by her brother while she is unwell. Of course, this is
an establishment run by the Lecters, so nothing is quite as it seems and it may
not turn out to be the safe haven Will is looking for. Even if Hannibal is
unexpectedly easy to talk to (and not too hard on the eyes, either). Then
again, Will’s got some secrets of his own, and we all know what happens to
people who underestimate Will Graham… This is a really fun trip through some
classic horror tropes, stylishly fusing a Hitchcockian vibe with supernatural
elements as Will’s paranoia grows in the face of the Lecters’ strange behaviour
and the threat of Jack hunting him down. It’s atmospheric, sexy, and thrilling –
old-fashioned horror at its very best.
An American Empath in
London by @legohanniballecter (MaddyHughes): In this (very slight) Sherlock
crossover AU, Jack loans out Will to Scotland Yard in order to aid them in
investigating a series of horrific murders involving Tory politicians (seeing
as their normal consulting detective recently jumped off a roof…). Except here,
Will hasn’t met Hannibal Lecter, not until he sits next to him on the plane to
London, that is, though it doesn’t take long for the pair to become intimately acquainted. Yeah, ain’t no
slow burn around here, and Will finds himself in a strange city, attempting to
deal with a case that frustrates him, a police force that doesn’t understand
him, and an intense, overwhelming attraction to a man he barely knows. Not to
mention that Hannibal’s up to his usual tricks: murder, manipulation, and
winding Will Graham up to see how he goes. Two years in the making, this densely-plotted,
highly intelligent case fic also features some seriously intense Hannigram,
with its trademark mix of sexual tension, blood and mind games turned up to the
nth degree. I highly recommend giving it a shot – once I started, I found it nigh-on
impossible to put down!
And Do Abominable
Things With Grace by @thedancingwalrus-blog (The_Dancing_Walrus): I love
and adore Pacific Rim, let’s get that out of the way. That said, it’s not
exactly the subtlest movie ever made
and I always kind of wished they’d done more to explore the concept of
drifting. Well, wish granted and with Hannigram into the bargain in this
fascinating crossover AU. Set sometime in s2, after Will’s mistrial but before
his release, things diverge sharply from canon when Beverly and the FBI arrest
Hannibal for his crimes. And then leave canon in the fucking dust when the
first Kaiju arrives and Will and Hannibal are kidnapped by the government to be
used as guinea pigs in the development of drift technology. Of course, it turns
out that fusing the consciousnesses of two people like Will and Hannibal – who
are pretty much inextricably bonded from their first glance anyway – has some
interesting, and not altogether pleasant, side-effects. This is a genuinely
stunning piece of work, playing with POVs and levels of consciousness to
portray the invasive intimacy of being forcibly mind-melded with another person
and written with a lyrical, experimental style that is both effective and
highly memorable. It also has one of the most interesting, insightful
depictions of the relationship between Hannibal and Will I’ve had the fortune
to read – by turns sad, hopeful and endearing, and never less than utterly
Caging the Beast by Vulcanmi:
How many have us have begged pleaded wondered how things
might have gone if Will had called off his Mizumono dinner plans with Jack and
Hannibal? In this AU the stupid idiot our intrepid empath does just
that, and, having realised that he doesn’t want to live in a world where
Hannibal is behind bars, sets about constructing one in which he can tame the
beast and put it in a cage of his own. His decision sets everybody on an
unfamiliar path but while some things change (no Florentine jaunt for Bedelia
this time), others just can’t be avoided (Mason still needs to be someone’s
bacon, and Will and Hannibal still dance around each other like a pair of
nervous teenagers). Or put off forever, as Will’s growing awareness of the nature
of his feelings for Hannibal shows. Many Mizumono fix-its focus on the murder
fam running off together and trying to avoid capture. This takes the opposite
approach, keeping everybody in Baltimore with the inherent dangers and tensions
that involves, extending the game between Will, Hannibal and Jack, even as the
former two inch their way towards true Murder Husband status. It’s a
fascinating reframing of canon, retaining many elements from s3 but with Will
and Hannibal acting as a team and a family. I lost count of the number of times
I sighed “If only…” while I was reading this – if you still dream of what could
have been that rainy night in Baltimore, this is definitely the fic for you.
Yet Another Hannigram
S1 AU (series) by @coloredink: Fans of intense, complex, drawn-out
conversations between Will and Hannibal (which is… all of us, right?) will be
in heaven with this two-part series set sometime post-Tobias Budge in s1. Both
instalments see the boys thrust into close living quarters and exploring the
powerful but confusing nature of their relationship. In and built a little house that we could live in, Will takes Hannibal
up on the offer of using his vacation house for a week, on one condition:
Hannibal comes with him. There follow seven days in which two solitary men
begin to realise they might not want to be solitary anymore, and tentatively
negotiate how that might work. By contrast, there’s nothing tentative in
follow-up a tower to broadcast all our
dreams, in which Will and Hannibal have to pretend to live together as a
couple in order to draw out a serial killer. The pretence soon gives way to
something else, but when you’re the Chesapeake Ripper, deciding you want a
boyfriend comes with extra complications… This series is a beautiful riff on
some favourite tropes, the second instalment in particular playing on the “fake
date” with brilliant results. It also lets us see a charmingly domestic version
of Hannigram, investing time and care in building up the relationship without
sacrificing the dark and twisted aspects of their story. And really, does it
get any better than domestic fluff with a bit of murder on the side? Nah, didn’t
As ever, if there are bad links, or I’ve misattributed anything, let me know and I’ll fix it lickety-split. Happy reading, lovely fannibals!
Alright. Phew. It’s been a looooooooooong time coming but @blackindiaink and I have finally gotten the first book in our first joint series ready enough to put out there for anyone who might be interested in reading something new!
do you have any tips for learning Norwegian? I'm a beginner.
hello there! :)
i’ll try my best to tell you what i do to learn the language and what i think is important. if anyone has something else to add, please feel free to do it!
first, it’s really important that you focus on grammar, vocab and your listening and speaking skills. try to find a balance! people will argue that it’s more important to do grammar than vocab or the other way around, but i never thought i had to choose between the two.. i just study grammar one day and vocab the next one. it’s just really important to do both. listening and speaking skills are also super important because they will let you communicate with natives in real life. now i’ll just tell you what i use and how i tend to study!
What I Use:
(or i should say, resources i have saved)
Duolingo: [grammar and vocab] great way to start!!! it sometimes feel like the sentences are useless but they teach you vocabulary and basic grammar, which i think is great.
Memrise: [vocab] so good for vocab! easy to use on the go.
Babbel: [grammar, vocab, speaking, listening] i think it’s one of my favourite apps/websites. it is not free but it’s very well made and it explains grammar much better than duolingo does.
Readlang: [reading] (i don’t use it that much) but you can find many texts written in norwegian to practice reading. it can be really useful, especially if you have a bit of a hard time finding books
Forvo: [listening and speaking] this website lets people record themselves say words so you can listen to them. it shows you the real pronunciation of words (i mean when compared to google translate) and tells you where the speaker is from (which is important with norwegian and its dialects)
NTNU’s Norwegian on the Web: [grammar, vocab, listening] haven’t actually used this one yet, but it’s made by a university in trondheim so i guess it’s not bad!
UiO’s Future Learn Introduction to Norwegian: [grammar, vocab, listening] i took this free online class a couple of months ago and i don’t know when it will be available again, but it was so great! they have videos and grammar lessons, so you have a good balance between grammar and real life use of norwegian.
Get Started in Norwegian / Complete Norwegian / Enjoy Norwegian: [grammar, vocab, listening] i absolutely love these books! i put links to buy them, but maybe you can find a way to download them online. they explain grammar really well and they have exercises to practice what you learn.
Assimil’s Le Norvégien: [grammar, reading, listening] don’t know if available in another language than french. also really great! a good mix of reading, listening and writing!
På Vei (A1-A2) / Stein På Stein (B1) / Her På Berget (B2): [grammar, vocab] my favourite at the moment, i downloaded all the textbooks and exercise books on Scribd and you can find download links here too. i absolutely love them! the first one is kind of childish but the grammar rules are well explained and the textbooks let you read more.
Klar Tale: [reading] news (from norway and around the world) written in simple words. that’s how i first started reading in norwegian and it’s helped me a lot!
How I Study:
Taking notes: after i’m done with a duolingo or memrise lesson or after i learned something new in my grammar books, i like to write down the new words, grammar concepts and other things like that down in my notebook. it helps me remember stuff more easily and helps me review!
Flashcards: helps me learn verbs and vocab. also super easy to bring with you when you want to study on the bus or when you’re waiting somewhere!
Watching TV Shows/Movies: there are quite a lot of norwegian tv shows on netflix, like Nobel, Okkupert, Lillehammer or Øyevitne. and obviously Skam (not on netflix though). when i can, i like to watch the episode with norwegian subtitles to see the words as i’m hearing them. then i watch the episode again with english subs to see what i understood (or didn’t understand).
Listening to music/podcasts: you can find a bunch of norwegian playlist on spotify and it helps so much with your listening skills! I like to read the lyrics while i listen to songs because i can associate the sounds with the written words (and the other way around). i also like the nrk-skampod, because it’s fun and the people on the podcasts speak a variety of dialects.
Reading the news: i like to read the articles, sum them up and write down the words i don’t know. Look up the words and then read the article again to see if i understand it better.
Writing: keep a journal or write to natives (or other learners), because even if you memorize 100 grammar rules by heart, if you never apply them in real context, you won’t learn/remember them. believe me, the natives on this website are really nice and they want to help us learn!
Speaking: i speak to myself (and my cat) a lot, when doing my lessons or when i’m getting ready in the morning. i’m too shy to speak to natives so that’s the best way i found to actually practice my speaking! it’s weird, yes, but effective.
In the End, What Is Important:
obviously you might not have time to study everyday, but i believe it’s important to be around the language at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. sometimes i’m able to sit down and write notes and be really productive. other days, all i can do is listen to music on the way to school/work. i’m rarely able to do grammar, learn vocab, practice my listening or speaking skills all in one day, but i try my best to do everything in the course of a week! it’s better to do a bit every day, than to study 5 hours straight once a week!
I’m sorry that got so long and i really hope that answers your question. If somehow it didn’t, send me another message and i’ll try my best to answer it :)
Just wondering whether you think that 5.20 etc was planned or something they decided to do because of fan reaction? Thanks!
guessing by your use of ‘etc’ that you’re referring to Olicity’s progression?)
Not a chance.
Hell no. The reunion has been 100% set in stone since before they broke up. @louiseblue1 and @jbuffyangel have explained it so well in the past, much better than I’m about to.
decided to do it, they figured out between May and August 2016, with a few
addendum’s made by 5.05 was filmed. When
they knew the time they wanted them to reunite (as in, at the end of a season)? Roughly when they filmed 4.16. I know
there are some people who disagree, but I know the truth.
point answers coming up:
script for 5.19 was written before 5.14 even aired – which means they’d figured
it out before the ruckus that episode 15 inspired.
- They’ve known all season how much we dislike the LI’s: they still went ahead with them.
- Before writing scripts for a season, they must first plan the season. Good novelists and
fanfiction authors do the same for a story they know will last a while (I don’t
and I suffer for it). They don’t have enough time to change things on the spot later
on or mess about with the plot because of their tight schedule, which is why
they write scripts for episodes that are roughly 4 episodes ahead of the ones
being filmed. And then they have to make sure the episodes work with the
narrative flows of the season. Advanced prep.
- When 5.05
aired (an episode that was filmed before episode 1 aired), WM & MG both
admitted that they wanted to explore Oliver and Felicity apart from each other
for a bit FIRST. First. It implies
that it isn’t forever. Just long enough for realisations to set in. And to
drive the fandom insane.
the season started no one said they were over. Yet by season 2’s end and
before season 3’s air date, WM was saying said that Oliver wouldn’t be getting back
with LL or Sara because their relationships were based on the past and would
never last. SA specifically said NO.
- WM &
MG have also said this season that there were a few stories they had left that
they ONLY do if Oliver and Felicity weren’t together. It was the truth. Such as
explore them with other people and see those relationships fail for a fundamental reason. As well as delving into Felicity’s
changes and Oliver’s sin. His
darkness. Facing himself. To find
themselves before they can find each other.
season was THE one where they could throw Olicity utterly through the blender as they explored other avenues. We didn’t have to like it
but it has been implied enough times for us to know that it’s because once
these two idiots get together, it’ll stick. Even through bad times. With many seasons to come - like Stephen said - they could afford to slow down.
- Dig asked
a question in episode 1 regarding Olicity that has yet to be answered because like each season
there is something in the first episode that gets answered in the last. It
hasn’t always been a question. It’s a device used to show progression, whether
for good or bad.
are many themes and questions, I’m just picking one for each) Season 1: it
delves right into making us wonder who Oliver Queen is, what his mission is and
why. Who he’s become. And what it might cost. It ends with a man who is a
survivor but not a hero, a man who tried and failed and the cost? Tommy.
Can he be a hero in trying a different way? Answer: yes.
It’s more of a choice than a question: The Arrow or Oliver Queen.
Can Oliver and Felicity be together both romantically and professionally? Does
Oliver have what it takes to be the light? Both answers are ‘not yet’. They’re
both under a schism.
is Felicity going to be part of Oliver’s future and can Oliver overcome what’s
been hurting him for so long? Yes and yes.
question posed and meant to be answered by 5.23.
- MG recently said in a tumblr answer that he and
the writers view Olicity as much more
than just a romance and that it was
a very good thing. And it is: it
means not only will they pay attention to them as a couple, they’ll give
credence to the people they are. Who they’ve become. Felicity’s had more story
this year than Laurel did season 1. They’re exploring her personality, whereas
LL got thrown a bunch of cases to try and fail at solving and got passed around
2 men. In fact, in each season, Felicity’s story builds. THIS year, the show
has explored Oliver more than anyone else but it was always with the goal in
mind of truly making him a legend: the GA. This show has always been about him.
mentioned Laurel and season 1…
season, in some ways, is like a fix-it. At least, it is for me. And I promise this ties into the question :)
1, Oliver tried to honour his father and did so by taking his book of names of
the members and associates of Tempest and making it a list of marks to hunt,
intimidate, coerce or kill. To try and make Starling better this way.
love interest was LL, who he’d betrayed; however, he spent the season trying – to
a fashion – to find compatibility from a woman with the man he had become.
was the connective thread to his darker side searching for redemption.
was his desire for some normalcy: an ordinary, functional but caring
was his need to heal the past; to go back in time and once again be the man he
used to be, the one everyone missed, the man who hadn’t made a dumbass decision
that ended in death, terror and loss.
A man who
couldn’t love Laurel because he was
no longer the man she fell in love with. That man died in the ocean.
anyone who doesn’t like what I’ve just written, please re-watch episode 8:
Oliver says this to a version of LL. An episode were he sees people he’s lost
and feels guilt over loosing, the people he needs to leave behind because
they’re haunting him. The people he couldn’t save because he wasn’t who they
thought he was.)
A man who wasn’t
a dutiful son. Or the amazing boyfriend who hadn’t slept around behind LL’s
back. And he
wasn’t Ollie. He’d never be Ollie again except to his sister. It takes 2
seasons for him to figure that out.
before the end of season 1, he gets the girl, aims to save the city and
declares that - once he’s finished - maybe he won’t need to fight anymore.
he’s lost his best friend, any last chance with LL by CHOICE not circumstance, this is important, he doesn’t save the
city and his mother is arrested.
What should have happened after season 1 –
I’m going to focus particularly on LL – if a) Oliver wasn’t as damaged as we’ve
found him out to be in season 5 and b) if KC as LL had worked, is this:
have found out Oliver’s secret at the end of season 1. After Tommy’s death they would have slept other but he still would have left.
and LL would have spent up to, roughly, episode 14 of S2 being apart until they
couldn’t take it anymore. Instead of sleeping with Sara, it would have been
on and off throughout until the end of S3.
of spending the whole of S2 being an addict and recovering: LL would have also
been using boxing or martial arts etc to try to kick her habit and vent some of
her anger and guilt at Tommy’s death. She would have become a definite target for
Slade and there would have been more than one episode covering this. By the end
of the season, Oliver would have started training her. Personally.
place, we got an LL who spent an entire season – this is going to sound super
harsh - feeling sorry for herself and blaming everyone else but herself for her
problems. I know that sounds bad but, she drank and popped pills to take away
her pain because it was too much for her. THAT’S FINE. THAT’S UDNERSTANDABLE.
What isn’t fine, is making damn sure that
whoever’s with her feels just as bad, if not worse, than she does.
she doesn’t just feel guilty, she feels entitled to pass judgement. As if her
pain gives her a free pass. It gives no one else on the show a free pass so
this isn’t a facet the audience can like.
time she does it is with Oliver: that argument in the hallway after she’s just
hurt her father, mother, sister and ex all in one go. After she blamed Sara –
like she did Oliver – for ‘ruining’ her life. For making every bad decision and every wrong turn shes made, the fault of someone else.
when a character being an addict loses sympathy. The addict part isn’t a
problem. It’s how the character affects the people around them. She improves
afterwards but, that mark stays with her.
accepted Thea’s drinking and substance abuse, even if she irritated us, even if she was horribly immature with it; it was
understandable and acceptable. She was a teenager lashing out at the world. But they deliberately didn’t push too far with
it. They did with LL. They being the
her into a vigilante for her sister with some ‘I care about Oliver even though I disagree with everything he says and
have become a vigilante for SARA yet - when it suits me – also because Ollie’s
one too and if he can do it - even though I disagree with everything he does –
then so can I’ thrown in.
resembles this movement… but it twists it on its head and mends what was
has resorted back to killing criminals, to being very much the vigilante of
season 1. He’s in love with Felicity but can’t be with her because he’s hurt
her terribly and there’s something fundamental that hasn’t mended. That hasn’t
been fixed. Something in him.
Noticed the similarity with season 1?
the season unconsciously working from the viewpoint that he is someone who
infects others. Someone who killed his own
happiness and didn’t save the people he cared for.
his mother, his father, Laurel etc… Felicity’s presence by his side. She closed
off her heart to him and that’s his fault.
tries, like in season 1, to build something. He – at Felicity’s behest – builds
a bigger team. He tries to be the politician Star City deserves. He tries to
move on and date. He tries not to succumb to the monster he was the year before
he returned home. He tries to atone and move forwards.
he mostly succeeds. Personally, he utterly fails.
left by choice. Evelyn betrayed them by choice. Curtis has destroyed his
marriage through choice.
Dinah are flourishing.
politician, he’s destroyed his legacy as the Arrow, even though he thought it
the right choice: it’s hurt him and he doesn’t know how to come back from that.
Billy, thereby once again, hurting Felicity and reminding him again that it isn’t
the worst thing he’s done.
settled for the first offer at a relationship that came along, from a woman who
he knew initially thought little of him because he needed to prove to someone
like that, that he wasn’t bad and could be better. And if he could convince
someone like her – even as he lied and was subpar about them – then maybe, just
maybe he could be worthy of more. Worthy of Felicity.
feels he was an idiot to even try and once he saw that for what he was, once he
realised why he’d tried in the first place he dumped Snoozan in the coldest break
up I’ve seen on TV in a long time.
forced to see why he destabilises everything in his life. He’s fallen to his
lowest ever point.
with every season, Felicity will be the one to make him rise back up.
1, Oliver and Felicity won’t have a quick 2-minute thing and then spend 3 episodes
ignoring each other like he and LL had between 21 and 23 S1.
Olicity had episode 19 to air out the big problem between them. She thinks he doesn’t trust her and he has no idea how to tell her the truth because once he does he thinks he’ll lose her love forever. They’ll
have 5.20 to circle back round to each other, to have Oliver explain why he’s
been acting the way he’s been acting and have Felicity be openly vulnerable to
him. 5.22 it’s his b-day party and 5.23 they all end up on Lian Yu.
wide attack, no loss of a best friend (Diggle), no loss of a love that’s his
life and his always and his future.
will be gained as will a new life. He’ll let go of the rope around his neck:
his promise to his father. He’ll FINALLY step off the island. He’ll have the
girl who completes him to help him and him, her.
COULDN’T MASH THIS UP TOGETHER IN WEEKS OF PANIC OVER THE OUTCRY OF FANS.
They would never - EVER - give THIS much simply for fan-service. It’s far too much.
They aren’t that stupid. A waste of money, time and resources on pleasing some fans.
know fans have some power. We know that. They listen to what we like and if
enough people like something, they either look at it more closely or it’s given credence.
isn’t their motivation for action. And the CW guys, the directors, the
producers, Warner Br’s etc: they make calls that we don’t know about BEFORE fan
reactions even occur. Before they we loved Felicity, THEY fell on love with her
first and asked her to be brought on for more episodes.
the scripts for season 2 and 3, we’ve had it confirmed that all the small
moments between them over season 1 and 2 were created with an epic romance in
mind. The break up has been coming since the beginning. We
all know LL was the original LI, until they watched the pilot before it aired
and realised they couldn’t re-cast their female lead.
up and the space between Oliver and Felicity has been deliberate and something they’ve
been planning for a long time. As is their reunion. As is Oliver’s rise to
this, the romance, has all been about Oliver becoming the GA. It has NOTHING to
do with fan reaction.
brief look at season 4’s narrative cues first:
together, moving in with each other and getting married. All in 9 episodes.
Wow. At the time I didn’t notice the speed but looking back at it, I’m super
stunned I didn’t see the it until it was too late.
rushed their progress to break them
up. To give them lots of time to live differently without each other. I’ve already posted that I believe they’re aiming for 5 more seasons to reflect on the first 5. It had nothing to do with whether
whoever makes the decisions likes Olicity or not; it was a piece of the story.
They realised they were going to get more than 5 seasons – A LOT more.
Revealing this secret child and having them work through that was probably
going to happen all in one season. Until the glorious news of more seasons.
they have that scene in 4.16 where Felicity says to Oliver that he would always
be on that island and that, though she loves him and wants to be with him,
he’ll always resort to being that person. To the man created in those 5 years
away. The kind of fiancé who would make the kind of choices that would leave
the ones he loves bereft, even if that wasn’t his intention. The man she loves
who could one day simply leave her, because of a choice he might make.
progressive point: something for him to aim to beat. A wall to climb over. And
some walls are really high and terrifying to scale.
They’re at a stale mate and a cross
roads and to be honest, I understand why. As much as the patience they asked of
us is wearing very thin, I get why it took so long.
couldn’t get back together in season 4 because Felicity was right: eventually
he’ll make a decision that will ruin them. And she needed to face her demons.
Until he could understand himself, understand what lies at the root of his
decisions, they were null.
Oliver… well he’s the king at burying what hurts. It’s very characteristic of
his character to take a full season to GET IT.
the core of season 5. His evolution.
Stepping past that and becoming the hero Felicity has seen in him since day
he hasn’t managed to do this without her.
She’s a pinnacle piece of his puzzle.
Their break up is at the root of what’s hurting him.
his choices this season have ended in failure and/or pain. The things he’s
doing as the mayor, how he’s resorted to killing once again, then openly
renouncing the GA without discussing it with his team, dating SW and then
dumping her like she was nothing (she was and he knows it which is why he
doesn’t understand why he dated her: it was because he was lonely btw), they’ve
been based on an underlying principal that he is this bad person who destroys
the goodness around him. He went in search of something to prove that wrong… what he found was much worse. He found the
truth: or a partial truth.
alone hasn’t helped him: it’s simply made him see what he was denying for
years. In a very real way, it is a sickness.
honestly, he was never EVER going to understand himself fully, was never going
to see the missing pieces without Felicity Smoak.
5.20 will be about this: about the revelation in 5.17 and Felicity showing him
that there might be a different way to see this.
they’ve filmed the episode tells me they’ve put a good deal of thought and
MEANING into it.
It’s sounding like the
Olicity episode to end all other episodes: they’re in each scene
together. It’s been made so that Felicity has to depend on him, something she’s
been deliberately not doing all season. It will be brutally honest, gut wrenching and heart-warming MAYBE OTHER THINGS.
WITHOUT proof, why would they do all
that just to tide over a fan-base?
narrative flow to Olicity and their reunion wasn’t obvious to some people it’s
because they were either too close to the subject or too angry at their break
up. I get why. It was a crappy breakup and the length of time we’ve had to wait
for the pendulum to swing back around has been almost too much – but they could
never get back together until Oliver is at his lowest, until he is at a place he can fully open like he’s never been before.
All because of her, because she’s changing his world view of her and it is certainly not in any bad way.
doing this - in confessing to the one person he’s most afraid to confess to -
he’ll free himself of a burden AND have what is likely going to be an amazing
response from the woman he loves. Something to give him hope: a different point
of view. Maybe it’s that simple. It’ll connect to their breakup. It ALL connects.
tying up 5 years of story in 5 episodes, but there will be a focus on his
secrets (William/his break up with Felicity) and his loose ends (the return of
some major villains etc).
through something now, and she sees him in a different light — and he also sees
her in a different light. There’s a lot more mutual understanding, and even
though I think it’s hard to top the mutual respect they already have for each
other, that goes up as well.”
WM said this and do you see
how brilliant that is?
That they’re creating a couple
who no one can stand against, a couple who love, respect and admire each other
the most out of everyone. A couple who understand each other enough that their
future encounters are bound to fascinate us.
Like someone once said, they’re
the DNA that make Arrow what it is. The essential make up now of the show.
Fan-service, they will never
be. They were decided BEFORE we wanted them by Warner Bro’s, CW, the directors
jesus christ this is super long… but it was just REALLY interesting to write, but and really challenging because of the amount of reading and research I had to do to make sure my background information was correct, but it was totally worth it \(^U^)/ ENJOY
“I couldn’t – I couldn’t do anything to save her…”
Kagome sunk behind her knees as the tears continuously trembled down her distraught face. Koga panned over to the girl’s dismay, but, even he knew, there just wasn’t any right thing to say.
“Maybe if… I had more power…,” Kagome continued, “Maybe if… I was stronger…” She sniffled as she continued hiding behind her crossed arms, “Maybe… then… I could’ve saved Kikyo.”
“Or maybe… I still can…,” so she thought.
A ray of bright lights then burst from Inuyasha and Kikyo’s direction. The soul eaters swirled in the wind and circulated everyone who was present. The gang became submerged in the ray of light and its indescribable warmth. Kagome teared as she felt Kikyo’s soul pass through her and Inuyasha remained silent.
Miroku kept Sango close as Shippo remained on his shoulder, “Come Kagome, Koga.” He looked back at the distressed boy, “Let us leave Inuyasha to himself for a bit.”
“Ay,” Koga nodded, pushing himself up from ground. “I know you don’t want to leave your pup alone, Kagome, but it’s just for awhile,” he reached out his hand.
Kagome kept her eyes on Inuyasha as she was lifted from her seat. She followed, but still lacked behind the rest, unable to rip her stare from the discerning figure. She knew what she had to do.
“Erm,” Kagome paused. “I think I’m going to take some time for myself as well.”
“Just be careful, Kagome-chan,” Sango smiled as she laid a hand on her shoulder, Miroku and Shippo bobbing their heads in agreement.
Koga took a step closer, “If you need anything, I’m always right here for you.”
The gang slowly nodded their heads with a longing expression on their faces as Kagome softly grinned and walked in a different direction. Kagome felt their eyes piercing into her back as she walked further and further away. She knew, maybe, it wasn’t the best time to separate from the group, but there was something she felt needed to be done.
“I remember… there was something I had learned in history class…,” the girl held her chin, continuing her small steps. “But… What was it?”
She closed her eyes trying to envision that day in class. She saw herself, sitting at her desk, her fellow classmates, friends, and the teacher. She tried to watch her teacher closely; following along with the mouthing of his words.
“That’s right!” she broke out of her memory. “The yin-yang priests!” she exclaimed. “The onmyouji.”
“Let me think…,” Kagome shut her eyes once again, remaining in one place. “Onmyouji practiced onmyōdō, which was influenced by Taoism, Buddhism, and Shintoism. These onmyoujis [also known as onmyōji] were specialists in
magic, divination, and some claimed that they could talk to those who passed
…,” she came back to reality. “Sheesh… No wonder I almost flunked that class.”
Her head began to spin from all the information and her own feelings; she decided to take a seat on a nearby rock to help gather her thoughts so she could come to an actual solution.
She plopped her chin onto the palm of her hand, “But where can I find them?!”
The girl banged her head against her hands, out of frustration, trying to retreat some more information. She began to feel hopeless. Nearing another desire to cry, she suddenly remembered the question asked by a friend:
But in today’s society, aren’t the onmyoji defined as a type of Shinto priest?
“Of course!” Kagome leaped in light of her revelation. “Onmyoujis are also Shinto priests,” she took a scan of the surrounding area. “And there’s a Shinto shrine not too far from here.”
With high confidence and fearlessness, the girl marched her way into the forest and towards the only place, she thought, could help Inuyasha find salvation.
“Kagome’s been gone for quite awhile now…,” Shippo muttered behind the warmth of a lit fire.
Koga hopped up without hesitation, “What if she’s gotten into some trouble?!” He run quickly in a circle; fists clenched and eyebrows propped up.
“Kagome-sama just needed some alone time,” Miroku looked over to his troubled friend. “Just like Inuyasha.”
Sango continued staring into the fire, Kirara sitting on her lap, “But, houshisama-” she turned sharply to face Miroku- “What if she did run into trouble? I mean…” She continued, “Naraku is still out there… What if he’s been waiting for this to happen?”
It was almost instantaneously that the entire group stood up in freight. Sango gripped hiraikotsu and Miroku grabbed his staff while Koga, Shippo, and Kirara got into defensive stances.
“There’s just one more problem…,” Sango said with a worried tone.
“What is it?” Shippo looked up to meet her gaze.
Miroku tightened his hand around the staff, “Inuyasha isn’t aware of Kagome-sama’s absence-”
“And… he’ll probably kill us after we tell him that we let her go,” Koga noted.
The gang shivered with fear of how Inuyasha was going to react. They stepped quietly towards the boy who was busy staring off into the distance. His ears twitched as everyone neared behind him, but he didn’t flinch nor mutter a single word. The only sound that could be heard was the howling of the wind and a multitude of fast-paced heartbeats.
“Inuyasha…,” Miroku stood beside him. “We, uh-” he cleared his throat- “We have something to tell you.”
“What is it?” Inuyasha mumbled beneath his breath, the gang feeling a cold front.
Sango took a step on the other side of him, “Kagome… has been gone for quite some time…”
“What are you –” he slowly, but aggressively got up onto his feet- “What are you trying to say?”
“She said she needed time to herself and that she wanted to be alone!-”
With no interest in further information, Inuyasha’s eyes widened before sprinting off into the direction of her faint scent. The pressure of his feet stomping on the grass and dirt echoed as Koga, with Shippo, followed his tail and Sango and Miroku rode Kirara doing the same.
Kagome breathed heavily as she reached the final step, “Whew, I’m out of shape.” She held her ribs and panted towards the floor. It took only another few seconds for her to realize that she had finally made it.
“Ah,” she took a look around. “Hello?! Is anyone here?!”
She quickly, yet carefully made her way towards the little hut beside the shrine. A faint light seemed to be lit within the place, which gave her a bit more sprinkles of hope.
“Ah, a traveler?” said the man who emerged from the hut.
Kagome’s eyes lit up with a little bit of faith, “Y-Yes! Uhh, you can say that.” She cleared her throat, “You are… a Shinto priest, correct?”
The man laughed, “Why yes, of course I am.” He gestured to the shrine not too far from them.
The man laughed, “Why yes, of course I am.” He gestured to the shrine not too far from them.
“So, that also means you are an onmyōji as well, right?” the girl mentally crossed her fingers, praying that the somewhat-shorter man would give her her desired answer.
He stood in awe, “That’s very impressive-” he folded his hands- “that someone your age actually knows of that.”
“T-Thank you,” she quickly replied. “Therefore, you know of magical rituals such as divination, necromancy, and spiritualist techniques?!” The man didn’t have time to reply, “I need you to perform a resurrection ritual,” she proclaimed. “…Please?”
The priest replied with saddened eyes, “I’m sorry, miss, but I don’t think you want to do that.”
Kagome formed her hands into a fist, furrowing her brows, “Of course I do!!!” She turned away, “It’s something that I need to do…”
“You misunderstand me,” the priest laid a gentle hand on her, causing her spin his direction. “In order to successfully perform a resurrection ritual-” his voice trembled- “you must sacrifice a life.” He slowly shook his head, “A human life.”
He waited for Kagome to look shocked and take back her demand, but this was something she had already knew.
She looked up into the sky, taken away by the realignment of the stars, “Please, this is something bigger, and far more important, than myself.” She saw an image of Kikyo.
“What were you guys thinking?!” Inuyasha barked as he hopped from treetop to treetop. “How could you ever think of letting Kagome go somewhere alone this late at night?!” He huffed, “What if… Naraku?!-”
“I knew I should’ve accompanied Kagome-”
“ESPECIALLY YOU, WOLF BOY!” Inuyasha hissed. “Of all people, how could you have let her gone?!”
“WATCH IT, MUTT!” Koga growled, biting his tongue as he sprinted right beneath him. “You were to caught up with your own feelings you completely neglected Kagome’s!!!”
“Why you…,” Inuyasha hopped off the treetop, confronting Koga. “Why should I listen to what you what to say?!”
“ENOUGH!” Sango threw hiraikotsu to break the two up.
“You both are being childish!” Miroku exclaimed. “Kagome-sama is missing and it’s you two who are getting caught up in your own feelings!”
Inuyasha and Koga sneered as they face the opposite of each other. Shippo and Kirara sighing at their naivety. Suddenly, the wind picked up and howled fiercely, much more ferociously. The gang pushed back by its pressure.
“I know that scent!!!” Inuyasha leaped back onto the trees, sprinting off at the speed of light.
Koga took a quick whiff of the air, “IT’S-”
The priest sat down in front of the altar. He continuously shook his head no as he prepared the bowl of ingredients required for the ritual. He placed it in the center of the sigil that Kagome mimicked from the ancient Japanese ritual book with paint. She returned with the page of incantation.
“Here you go!” the girl handed over the wrinkled page.
“Child…,” the priest teared. “How could you still speak with such positive energy?”
Kagome forced a smile, “Like I said…” She looked over at the altar, “This is something more important than me.”
“You don’t have to do this,” he pleaded. “Death is never an option.”
She lowered her head, “That’s the thing…” She approached the altar, running her hand against the cloth, “It always is… because it’s always there.”
Without hesitation, she leaped onto the table. The priest slowly nodded his head, realizing that there was nothing he could say or do to change the girl’s mind. He lit up each of the four candles before sitting promptly onto the floor.
He began to read the first few passages of the incantation, none of which Kagome could understand. He threw a pinch of ingredients into the bowl and it sparked; causing the wind to howl more aggressively. After a couple more incantation verses, thrown-in ingredients, and storm-like winds, the priest made his way over to Kagome on the altar.
“You can still walk away from this,” the priest loosened his grip on the sharp blade.
Kagome gave a little smile, “She deserves to be saved, and he deserves salvation.”
The priest reluctantly lifted the blade as Kagome braced for the worse, “Goodbye…” He forced down the knife, “Inuyasha…”
The knife was knocked out of the priest’s hand. Inuyasha hovered over him with his claws ready to slash. The gang rushed over to Kagome’s side.
“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” Inuyasha spat as the priest shivered with trembling fear.
“Inu…-” she sat up, tears ready to fall from her eyes- “… yasha?”
A mixture of voices rang in her ears, but all she could focus on was Inuyasha rushing his way over to her. She fought back her tears as he came closer.
“Are you alright, Kagome?!” he placed his hand over hers. “Why did you wander off like that?!”
“You said…,” she covered her face with her bangs, her tone becoming more quiet. “You wanted to protect her forever…”
Inuyasha took a step back from his shock; the gang gasping, clenching their own hearts.
“You were…-” Miroku looked over at the bowl and incantation page- “going to resurrect Kikyo, weren’t you, Kagome-sama?”
Kagome slowly nodded her head, “That doesn’t explain why he had a knife ready to plunge into you?!”
“In order to successfully perform a resurrection ritual, you must sacrifice-”
“A human life,” Kagome finished off.
“So please, everyone,” she laid back down. “Let the priest complete the ritual.”
Everyone immediately leaped out at Kagome, but it was Inuyasha who snatched her off the altar. The rest were taken away by his speed.
“As if I’d let you!!” Inuyasha roared.
Kagome tried to shimmy out of his hold, “SHE DESERVES TO BE SAVED, INUYASHA!” The tears waterfalling without her control, “She can help you all, better than I ever could.”
She slightly turned to face the rest, “She can help defeat Naraku and get rid of your kazana, Miroku. Get revenge, Koga. Save your brother, Sango. Trust me, Shippo… Kirara.” The girl then locked eyes with Inuyasha, “Give you salvation, Inuyasha.”
“Kagome… Kagome-sama… Kagome-chan…,” the gang breathed.
Inuyasha squeezed her tighter, “You silly fool…” He lowered his head, “You are my salvation.”
“Yes, Kikyo was the first woman I ever cared for… I ever loved…,” she began to sulk. “But, you are my now and my forever. You have taught me everything I never knew I needed. You taught me how to have fun, how to laugh, how to cry…,” he took a short breath. “How to love…”
Kagome’s tears began to flow again as the rest of the gang hovered above them. The priest smiling from afar.
“We need you, Kagome-sama,” Miroku nodded his head.
“I couldn’t possibly handle these guys alone!” Sango laughed. “I need my girlfriend.”
“Who’s going to keep everyone in check?!” Shippo leaped onto Inuyasha’s head. “Especially this one?” Inuyasha fought back the urge to beat on him.
“I need you in my life, Kagome,” Koga held her hand. “You’re my woman.”
“Never touch her again!!” Inuyasha smacked his hand.
The girl grinned big as she watched Inuyasha and Koga fuss right before her, and the rest trying to break it up. She stared at how Inuyasha continued to hold her within his arms, even when mid-war. She took in these moments as she peeked over at the priest, who nodded his head.
“He was right,” she whispered to herself. “I didn’t want to do this,” she looked back up at the gang, “This is what I want.”
- Their sweet smiles on the red couch, Betty beaming at him happily when Ronnie calls him her boyfriend. Juggie trying to act cool, but internally proud to be called her boyfriend. Both comfortable with their new found relationship status and not at all awkward at it being discussed publicly.
- Adorable banter at Pop’s, Juggie’s sass shows up again “His name is Moose”, Betty literally snuggling up to him. Betty being very cool when asking him why he didn’t tell her the Serpents beat up Moose - no judgment, no anger, just plain curiosity - you go, girlfriend!
- Juggie playing supportive boyfriend to the hilt at the shower even though its not his “scene” and Betty acknowledging that! This is so so important to a relationship, they don’t take each other for granted, they’re willing to compromise to make the other happy - Juggie is there for her even though he could’ve easily begged off, it wouldn’t have mattered, but he wanted to be there for Betty. He was there because this was important to her. And she noticed that and commented on it! I loved their banter in this scene and Juggie’s sarcasm again when he talks about this being on his bucket list - that was so Juggie! Its great that they can be themselves around each other and not feel the need to change themselves to please the other!
- His worst fears being realized when Archie tells her about his dad being a Serpent. That looks she gives him, he feels pretty sure he’s lost respect in her eyes, that it could be all over for him with her, he’s afraid of what she thinks of his family and him now. That look of shock and complete fear says it all - he’s terrified of losing her!
- He waits. He waits until they’ve all gone and Betty’s sorted things over with her family and made sure Polly has calmed down and gone to bed. He must’ve waited a long time! And to face what? For all he knew, Betty could have come at him angry at the secret he had kept, could have accused him of lying to her, could’ve even broken it all off. But yet he waited. Because he wanted to tell her why. And that is why Bughead wins because of this complete honesty and trust they have between them. They are willing to bare their hearts out to the other, willing to put themselves completely in the others’ power, knowing the risks of doing that could cause them to get hurt, but still trusting the other above anyone else.
- He opens himself up. He tells her he was ashamed. He immediately accepts he should’ve told her when he had the chance. He thinks it could be over. But he still wants to come clean now. And she deals with it so maturely! No anger, no admonishing, no judgment - just simply - Why didn’t you? And he comes back with a simple - I was ashamed. See, its so simple when you tell the truth. These kids can teach us more about relationships than experienced adults can! And this is the first serious relationship for both of them! WOW! Its like they wrote the Handbook on successful relationships!
- She wants to know all about him if they’re going to be together. *SCREAMS*. The way she takes his hand and that gesture is meant to be reassuring to him - to trust her, to tell her, to trust that she wouldn’t break at his darkness and that she would stay by his side no matter what. To trust in her strength and the strength of them together. That simple gesture of her taking his hand and saying those words? That sealed something so important between these two. And the relief in Jughead’s “Okay” and the affirmation is Betty’s echo. They are exemplary!!
It may seem like she was asking for too much, and that they’ve been together for only a couple of episodes, but they’ve been friends longer than that! That’s what makes navigating their new status so easy for them!
- That hand on her back, when she suggests talking to his dad, him agreeing immediately, ready to expose all his skeletons to her, lay them bare, because he’s now confident enough in her love for him. They are truly an inspiring couple.
- The meeting with his dad and then her asking him if he believed him. Jughead immediately looking for her opinion after speaking his mind. And this is again so important! He wants to know what she thinks because he respects her and values her thoughts as a rational, intelligent, analytical person. And when she says, “I believe YOU, Jughead”- My God, I’ve already written paeans about this moment (X), but I don’t think we’re meant to think that she thought FP was shady and she didn’t totally trust him. I think she meant what she said. It didn’t matter what she thought. Jughead believed his dad and that was enough for her. She believed what Jughead believed. And she would support him in that belief. What a defining moment this was for Bughead!
- The kiss that followed. He is so overwhelmed by her complete trust, her complete faith in him even after he’s exposed all of skeletons to her, she doesn’t judge him, just takes his word for it and completely and totally surrenders to her immense faith in him. What else could he do but kiss her? Words would be inadequate to express how he feels!
The kiss itself was the most open and passionate we’ve had with them so far. And I could feel the love that was brimming between them, it was spilling over them in that kiss and they were bathed in light, it was almost like they were blessed with a divine love, and in all the shit around them, they are each other’s hope, sanity, anchor, light, reason.
You know, when Archie said later “Pray for a miracle”, I wanted to say, “We already have one, Archie- in Bughead”
“It’s silent for another minute before she hears Benvolio’s clothes rustle next to her. ‘Did you ever love … him?’
Glancing at Benvolio, Rosaline eyes him warily, her suspicion getting the better of her. His eyes are soft and searching under the candlelight, and it is then when Rosaline realizes there’s no malice behind his question – he genuinely wants to know.”
Rosaline and Benvolio reach a tentative truce, because the world will always be against them and it’s time they stop fighting against the inevitable. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and keep your … spouse closer. For reasons.
She dips her finger inside the jam, watching the red color dye her skin like blood on a pavement. Rosaline examines it for another moment before popping her finger inside her mouth and tasting the jam, letting its sweetness consume her. There are several more pastries littered around the kitchen counter where she sits, each with a different and unique taste. Smiling, Rosaline stuffs her mouth with the half-eaten dessert, and eyes another one to devour.
It’s become a late night tradition for Rosaline, sneaking down the servant’s stairways in order to grab whatever dessert is left. When her mother and father were alive, she never sought out sweets as a child. Her parents touted her as a good daughter for not succumbing to the siren call of sugar, but she didn’t realize how much she would miss the taste of sweet tarts and pastries until her aunt forbade her from eating so.
For three years, she and Livia ate food fit for a peasant, such as stews, bread, and occasional fruit. Yet as a Montague – nay, a Capulet-Montague – Rosaline has access to so many sweets she feels she might faint. She feels naughty, tiptoeing across the house, but following the rules has never been Rosaline’s strong suit.
Life as a Capulet-Montague is … strange. After their failed attempt to stop their marriage, things have only gotten more tense between them. Her relationship with Benvolio consists of bickering and pushing each other to the limit. Sometimes, their fights can start by disagreeing on which dish is the best, before it quickly spirals out of control and they begin to attack each other’s characters.
She suspects he continues to argue with her because he needs to release his frustration, too. Their marriage is one of convenience for their families, and she’s come to stop blaming Benvolio for something he had no hand in doing. As much as Rosaline doesn’t want to admit it, they must work together in order to survive. They will always be punished for not being Juliet and Romeo, and not being united will only harm them.
Regardless, Rosaline’s too stubborn to extend an olive branch to Benvolio, so for now, they’ll continue bickering until it stops providing them an excuse to yell at one another.
Rosaline’s so deep in her thoughts that she doesn’t realize Benvolio has entered the room, confused by her presence just as she is of his. She stops chewing on the pastry, feeling awkward for getting caught, but her curiosity gets the better of her.
“I thought you had gone to bed.”
He gives a tight smile. His shirt is untucked and he looks tired, probably due to running errands for his uncle. There’s something else troubling his mind, she can see it.
“Ah yes, my wonderful bed on the floor. I do enjoy having the cold bricks stab my back as I sleep.”
Ren had settled into something akin to a comfortable routine, as much as anyone on the streets could possibly hope to. Every day brought new chaos. The bakery she had staked out as the center of her territory was on the rougher, poorer side of town, and she never knew when violence or cops would spill into her attempt at a peaceful existence.
She’d been heckled while digging through a trash can. When she hadn’t reacted, they’d thrown a bottle at her head. Her hat, an oversized beanie the same dark color as the dirty, matted hair it covered, had kept any glass from digging into her skull, but she had a hell of a headache and was dizzy. That was the sort of thing that made every day different from the next.
But there were some comforting constants.
She swung by the back alley by her bakery. She was quite late, and it was Sunday, so he would already be closed. But no one else came by, which meant… yes.
A little brown bag sitting on the step by the door into the bakery. She snatched it up quickly, stuffing part of it into her mouth so she could use all her limbs. Teeth clenched around the top of the bag, she clambered up onto the dumpster. In a practiced movement, she backed up to the corner, ran forward, and leapt. She caught the bottom rung of the fire escape on the next building, then hauled herself up. She climbed up another two stories on the fire escape, then, bag still dangling from her mouth, leapt onto the bakery roof. She landed on all fours, scrambled across the tile to the end of the house where the roof was at its highest. She slid off of it automatically, arms, then head, then chest and body, feet catching briefly around the edge as she swung herself down. The window was unlocked, because she never locked it. A metal ruler she left sticking out of the bottom made it easy to pry open, and then she slithered in.
The whole effort took less than thirty seconds.
She was getting very good at it.
The attic above the bakery was dark, but that didn’t bother her at all. She’d found a flashlight in an old box, and she had very good night vision. She clambered over bare plywood to her little corner, by the window, hidden behind a whole host of old, dusty boxes. There was a thick pile of blankets on it. She prodded at it a few times to figure out where all the rats were, moving some of them aside, before settling in.
She flicked the flashlight on and opened the bag. Inside was a saran wrapped sandwich, something wrapped in tin foil, two children’s juice boxes, and… ooooh, eclairs. She pulled it all out excitedly, using one of the boxes as a makeshift table. She started with the sandwich, unwrapping it and then carefully sticking the saran wrap around the existent ball of the stuff she was collecting. She didn’t know what for yet. Inside the foil were some sort of puffy baked things, folded and fluffy and filled with white poofyness that might have been cream cheese or something, and flecks of green. She poked at them. Lettuce? She didn’t know. It was too dark to be lettuce, she was pretty sure.
Curiously, she took a bite.
It tasted good, savory and creamy at the same time. She shrugged. It didn’t matter what was in it if it tasted good.
The juice boxes contained soy milk. One was chocolate. She drank that one first.
She fed the dozen or so rats in her blankets little pieces of bread and meat from the sandwich, which was full of some sort of chipped meat, and a vinegary sort of… cabbage maybe? Or a weird pale pickle. And cheese. And some kind of sauce. She didn’t rightly know, but it was good and the bread had a pretty, swirly design on it. The rats didn’t like the weird vinegar cabbage so she got to eat all of that herself. She really liked it. She wondered if she’d ever get to eat it again.
After she and the rats had devoured every last crumb, and the foil had been safely balled up around her Ball of Foil, which sat next to her Ball of Saran Wrap on her makeshift shelf, she flicked on her flashlight and grabbed the empty bag. It was a little greasy at the bottom from sitting for so long, but she could still use the sides. Eagerly, she went to tear it, then paused.
Something was… already written on the side?
She squinted at it, shaking the flashlight to get it to light up better.
“There is an Oktoberfest party today a few blocks away. Please watch out for drunks. Did you know otters have a special pouch where they keep their favorite rock?”
She tilted her head to the side, running a thin finger over the words, written in an unfamiliar scrawl.
Had Mr. Cupcake written this, then? He had never written her anything on a bag before. Except the first time, when he had written LUNCH in large letters.
A party… drunks. That explained the belligerence and the bottle.
She stared at the words for a while longer then flipped over onto her stomach, grabbing the sharpie she used to draw little pictures on the bags after she had eaten.
In careful letters underneath, she wrote, “One of them hit me.” She paused. “With a bottle.” That seemed like it might be an important clarification. Then, below that… “I did not know that. Did you know that rats laugh when they are happy?”
She stared at the words on the paper for a while. She doodled a little rat, laughing, the words HA HA HA over its head. She stared for a while longer. She had never written anyone a letter before. She was pretty sure this wasn’t how you did it. She wrestled with indecision for a while longer, before she tore the bag, carefully, so that the words didn’t rip. Then she taped it onto the slanted roof above her make-shift bed, with her other paper-bag doodles. This was paper bag lunch number fourteen.
She hoped tomorrow would be fifteen.
She hoped tomorrow would have more words on it, too.
She yawned, stomach gurgling and full, and curled up, pulling one of the many blankets over her head. The rats settled in around her, and she drifted into sleep, very full and very warm.
Since my original first date HC was written before Saeran’s route was realeased I wanted to write this again but considering the events of his route.
after playing his route my impressions on him didn’t change much. Now I see him
a little more daring and honest with his feelings…also a lot less patient. But
after writing this I realized it’s not a huge difference from the original HC….
This guy just needs some calm and relaxing time with his S/O… so enjoy the
First Date with Saeran (after his route)
Ray had so many dreams of things he wanted to
do with MC but that he never imagined he would actually be able to make them
come true. In his new found freedom Saeran discovered those dreams could be
more than mere fantasies and he was excited
Of course he couldn’t do that right away. The
first few weeks of your relationship were too hectic. Avoiding the media and
his father, keeping an eye on Mint eye in case they went for you, trying to
find his brother and of course he still had a hard time dealing with the
withdrawal of the elixir but he couldn’t wait to take you on an actual date so
after finding Saeyoung he took the first chance he got and asked you out.
He has so much fun preparing for the day.
He both wants to tell you everything he is
planning and wants it to be surprise… please don’t asks him about it, He’d be
He finds this botanic garden on town and gets
you both tickets…. he knows it is a little predictable but he wants that to be your first date.
It reminds him of those few precious moments you two spent on the gardens back at mint eye but at the same time it’s a completely new experience he wants to share with you.
Also a part of him wants to rewrite the story. Erase all the dark parts and make only happy memories.
Firstly you stroll through it holding hands and
just talking about everything, both meaningless stuff like the weather and
important matters like your hopes for the future.
If you signal him your favorite flowers he’ll
tell you their language. You already know which one is his favorite one but if
you ask him about other flowers he likes he’ll passionately talk to you about
them and you’ll also get to see his eyes glistening for being able to talk
about what he loves without anyone to stop him because he looks at you and he
knows you are enjoying it as much as he is.
After that he takes you to a secluded part of
the garden where he found a single table surrounded by rose bushes.
He sets it so you two can have tea and
pastries. (btw…So many different sweets!! Since he doesn’t know your taste well
yet, he gets everything that he thinks you might like)
It’s probably the first time you two can enjoy
such a relaxed time alone together without anything or anybody threatening
either of you and it feels so good!!!
He is surprisingly calm.
Like before the date
he thought he would be really nervous because he wanted it to be perfect for
you but when the time comes he can’t help but feel comfortable, relaxed and to
enjoy it as much as you do. You have that effect on him.
When the place announces its closing time you
help him pick up and when he is not expecting it you give him a kiss expecting
him to get flustered it is quite the opposite; he brings you closer and deepens
the kiss. You are the one who is flustered after that.
“As much as I love this we should head back… we
can always continue at home if you want to” he tells you with a not so innocent
smile RIP MC
prompted, the neighbors of one Adrien Agreste would have a lot to say about
him, all good things:
“M. Agreste? Oh, he’s so kind, I just love him.”
Yes, he’s such a joy to have in the neighborhood! Always volunteers at the
neighborhood barbecues, and he never has a bad thing to say about anyone!”
“Oh yes, Adrien Agreste. Just between you and me,
if I didn’t have a partner, I’d certainly like a shot at him…hell, I think Jean
would probably agree!”
part-time model Adrien Agreste made his living by teaching piano lessons for
kids, teens, adults—basically anyone who wanted to learn—at the local rec
center, where all the townsfolk gathered to learn a variety of skills, be it
the piano, cooking, dancing, or even quilting. And he was never without
business—when he wasn’t teaching at the rec center, people were practically
lining up for private lessons outside his two-story home, which was grander
than a few of the houses, but modest enough, considering his gigantic
inheritance when his father passed. He was always ready with a helping hand and
a smile, which would make him an easy target when it came to shady individuals,
but he was just so pure that anyone who tried to scam him seemed to end up
giving up with a thousand apologies, which he always accepted. Adrien Agreste
was simply too pure for anyone to mean him harm.
his lawyer was not someone to be trifled with.
hi you said 18 months ago you werr really struggling but you are better now. is therr something you did to get better? I am at that point now and I can't get better. you see happy now and such an inspiration. i dont know what to do. maybe you have some advice. if not that is fine please ignore.
I would never ignore. <3 I’m so sorry you’re struggling right now. You absolutely can get better, and I wish you all the love and support in the world in getting there. My inbox is always open if you want someone to chat to.
For now, these things helped me.
They might not apply to your situation - but if everybody talked about their experiences with mental health, people who’re struggling might not feel so lost in the fog.
So I’m happy to share.
1. Watch out for swamps.
We’re a highly social species - even those of us who are card-carrying introverts - and having access to other people (at a level that’s comfortable for you) will help with almost all of life’s problems.
Human faces and human voices (including written voices) will make you feel less alone during bad times. If you can’t bear to speak to actual people, put a DVD on - something familiar, something you know will work out okay. Listen to audiobooks to get to sleep. (There’s a series with Clive Merrison playing Sherlock Holmes - they’re magical.) Develop a habit of filling up silences whenever you find yourself in them, even before the gloom has a chance to settle.
And if you can reach for real people, it will help - but do make sure that what you’ve found yourself is a support network, and not a swamp.
But when it comes to mental health, there’s a widely-held assumption that just talking in general will help - and, when you’re feeling a bit hopeless, it’s natural that your conversation will drift towards the negative. We’re human and we want to share when we’re in distress.
But if you share with the wrong people, you risk creating a vortex of negativity together.
Dwelling on your difficulties will feel satisfying for a while - and you might even get a kick that you’ve ‘helped’ someone with theirs - but the legacy it will leave you with is a shadow. Neither of you will come to new insights, or make progress, or grow. Overtime, that bleak feeling will build.
The swamp can feel warm and safe at first, and you’ll feel like people understand - but you’ll get stuck. And you’ll get stuck there together. If your support network is made up largely of other people who are struggling (especially in situations that are difficult to solve, or are moving nowhere right now), then that network will very soon collapse under its own weight. It then becomes a swamp. Nothing grows in the swamp; nothing changes.
For positivity, you need people - but you need positive people.
Find a group who are talking with interest and enthusiasm about something you like. Get involved in the conversation and the activity - let that shared interest lift you out of negative feelings. The pay-off here is relief, escapism, a feeling of hope, and the chance to interact with people whose very presence reminds you that this mental health low isn’t a permanent state. It’s just a low, and you’ll get out of it.
If you don’t feel positive, pretend. Post or say something that seems about right. People will respond with genuine positivity, and that’s the help you need.
If you find yourself in a swamp, get out immediately. Reject the urge to ‘go back and rescue’ those who are stuck. You are not a hero right now. You aren’t going to rescue anyone. You’ll just collapse back in with them. Removing your contribution to the swamp is the best help you can give - to them and to yourself.
im sorry. i literally just sat down and word vomited. some of these are predictions but some of these are more like hopes and wishful thinking tbh but here we go
these predictions/theories/whatevers will probably span the next 2 seasons (seasons 5 & 6) because the seasons are so short
matt is gonna tell someone about keith trying to sacrifice himself
he’s probably gonna tell pidge, not just because she’s his sister. but since she also tried to leave the team once and Keith stopped her, narritively it makes the most sense that she’s the one who first confronts keith about it with the rest of the team
lotor knows about project kuron, i’m so fucking convinced.
idk if lotor knows that shiro is the clone. but im so positive that he knows every fucking secret thing in the galra empire so there’s no way he doesn’t at least know that project kuron is doing.
i wouldn’t be surprised if he uses keith as the patsy to reveal it to the rest of the team honestly - it would be a very lotor-esque move. i can go more into depth about this theory if anyone wants, just let me know if you’re interested.
other than that, lotor’s gonna have some way to defeat the galra, obviously. lotor is a nosey bench so he’s gonna have some dirt on the galra that will help defeat them.
and this is also why i think he knows and they’re all gonna have to trust him.
shiro will probably be the last one to trust him and try to fight against him BECAUSE HE’S ACTUALLY KURON. and then lotor will probably have to drop the bomb about kuron somehow
im just really convinced that lotor knows about project kuron okay
also we’re gonna learn about lotors backstory finally. what would be really great is if we get to see it through axca’s and the other general’s povs. like if they have flashbacks to their time with lotor. i would be so about that.
our favorite lady generals definitely will return tho. they’re probably gonna join up with the resistance tbh. at least acxa is. after talking with lotor and getting him to fucking explain and apologize for killing narti
keith’s self-sacrificing behavior is gonna get worse before it gets better. i keep fucking saying this but i am in the process of a meta on this. ill finish it eventually i am sorry
when keith finds out about kuron he’s gonna be wrecked. this will probably lead to more self-sacrificing behavior. it will make him question everything he knows about his relationship with shiro. this could feel like a big rejection to him. or it could fuel his desire even more to defeat the galra. but basically it will be bad news bears for keith.
we’re either gonna meet keith’s mother or at least learn more about her this season. i can feel it in my bones and its about fucking time honestly.
tbh i don’t think keith is half galra? i think he’s like 1/3 galra. i really don’t think he has enough galra features to be half galra. but then again maybe the galra have some kind of shifting abilities like alteans?
i do have this headcanon that keith looks completely human because he was born and raised on earth with other humans but if he spends enough time with other galra then he’ll start to take on more galra traits
wouldn’t that be something, huh?
maybe lance will be allowed to like a boy this season??? yeah right but i can dream though.
mallura??? i still don’t see it yet tbh, but homegirl did not cringe like she does when lance flirts with her so you never know?????? it’s a possibility.
lance and keith will team up again for something no doubt - lance will probably yell at keith that he’s needed and appreciated and not to fucking jump into the danger. lance is canonically his impulse control and his stability. lance needs to stabilize our boy.
also i think lance is gonna be pissed when he finds out what keith did. but not like loud and yelling pissed like he usually gets, but quiet pissed. like i imagine he might storm off to his room for a while to think. and then finally try to go talk to keith all calm and then probably blow up at him.
also lance just going back to being the team’s support like he was in s3 please and thank you
also LANCE HAVING IMPORTANT GROWTH MOMENTS OF HIS OWN AND THE TEAM SUPPORTING HIM AS WELL PLEASE AND THANK YOU
hunk actually being a diplomat and doing stuff other than food things
not a prediction, just a wish but maybe some actual character development - this could be his season!!!! god i hope so. he’s supposed to get his season. i need this.
shay and hunk actually interacting again would be a dream
pidge and matt will be looking for their dad obviously
maybe pidge & matts dad has some connection to keith’s mom oh now that’s an interesting theory
maybe they’re in another resistance group somewhere? maybe she saved him from the galra? who knows??? that would be such a cool plot point tho
i really think within the next two seasons, everyone’s gonna go back to their original lions. i’ve written meta on this already
if you want any clarification explanation any of this shit send me a message and i will talk more because i love this show so much
“Clem! Clementine!” Javi comes running to her, waving his hands in the air like a maniac. “I have news! And it’s great!”
She drops the bag she was packing a moment ago to give him her full attention. “What happened?”
“I spoke with Lingard,” he says proudly, beaming. “He’s a moody son of a bitch, but he told me where he left AJ.”
If she hadn’t dropped her bag before, she’d have now. Yes, she was going after AJ anyway, but to have an actual location? Awesome. More than awesome. Brilliant.
“Where?” she breathes out, hands twitching with the need to hold AJ again. “Where, Javi?”
“McCarroll Ranch. I…I’m not sure where it is exactly, but Lingard said it’s not far from here. Said there was a woman taking care of him, but Lingard doesn’t remember her name. Probably was too stoned to remember. But Clem, did you hear me? He’s not far from here! We can get him back!”
As it turns out, the manga and I aren’t going to be great friends. Rather than spend the energy on a liveblog that’s increasingly negative, I’m reading each manga act (mostly) silently, and then writing up summaries at the end. I’ll be very candid, which means there’s likely criticism and snark a’plenty about the manga, either wholesale or in details. If that isn’t a thing you feel like reading, please skip this post!
The next part begins in a fresh volume of manga, but Minako’s rainbowy greeting is as pleasant as it’s going to get. It’s also the pinnacle of sense. Buckle up and assume crash position, kids, this one goes off the fucking rails FAST.
Picking up where we left off, Wiseman takes Chibi-Usa’s hand, only Mamoru Pluto senses it and loses her goddamn shit. If you, like me, ever wondered about the sound of evil, the manga finally has the answer to this burning question.
Mamoru Pluto says she has to stand guard, thus implying she ever does anything else. Meanwhile Endymion is showing off his library. “You must have every book ever written collected here!” says someone, quite possibly Takeuchi, trying to convince us that a few bookshelves that wouldn’t even house the entire body of Steven King’s work is “every book ever written”. Minako looks for the porn, and instantly confirms this is the worst book collection in history.
Then Pluto Endymion senses … something? I guess? Maybe? I think it’s Neo Queen Serenity’s heartbeat? ALSO HOW CAN YOU SENSE FUCKING ANYTHING YOU’RE A GODDAMN COMPUTER PROGRAM RIGHT NOW YOU ARE SIRI GIVEN PURPLE FORM AND OTHERWISE YOU ARE COMATOSE THIS IS SUCH BULLSHIT
Endymion Who Is A Series Of Ones And Zeros And Incapable Of Physical Sensation somehow knows that the “pang in [his] chest” has to do with himself Pluto, because the story literally does not give a shit about sense, only its relentless zombie march toward page count. Mamoru assumes this means Chibi-Usa, and invites himself along. BUT NOT YOU MINAKO GOD THAT’S SO RUDE. Instead she gets to “hold down the fort”.
“What fort?! It’s a deserted palace filled with dead people and a shitty fucking library. ALSO WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME TO DO LITERALLY ANYTHING AND WHY AM I LISTENING TO YOU I AM THE GODDAMN LEADER OF THE PRINCESS’S PERSONAL GUARD.” But she shouted this at the two retreating backs, one of them holographic and yet still somehow more important than her, and stayed where she was told. “THIS IS REALLY PISSING ME OFF,” Minako literally says, finding her feet rooted to the spot for no reason other than authorial intent giving no shits about anyone who is not Mamoru.
It’s then that the cats – NOT MINAKO BUT THE CATS – find the Wikipedia page on “Death Phantom”, who I guess we’re still not supposed to know is Wiseman? Don’t answer that, I don’t actually care. According to the translation of the Wiki, Death Phantom DESTROYED Crystal Tokyo, which seems a tad concerning to me and maybe someone you’d not want to send to Planet Evil and forget about, but I’m sure you guys know what you’re doing. It also says NQS couldn’t kill him because of his “special powers”, though @maskedtranslatinganon tells me it should read "But despite his crimes, he was still human. Thus, the queen could not bring herself to order him killed.” Given that, I feel comfortable saying Neo-Queen Serenity fucked up in a cornucopia of ways, not the least of which is IGNORING THE EVIL MURDEROUS FUCK AFTER YOU COULDN’T MAKE THE TOUGH CHOICE. The second she – as literally the only person who could – refused to deal with Wiseman permanently, she accepted responsibility for him. Brushing him under the rug and ignoring him for centuries is the opposite of that, and basically, fuck you, NQS. How many people, YOUR people, have died both then and now so your conscience could remain clean? And if this was going to be any part of this story, I’d actually be all over it. But I know damned well it won’t be, AND I’M SO IRRITATED.
While I was ranting, Pluto Endymion and Pluto Mamoru find Endymamoru Pluto unconscious. There sure is a lot of traffic to and from The Gate of Time for a place everyone is forbidden from visiting ever. Pluto should really start charging admission, maybe she could afford a plant, or a goddamn vacation. She says she knows Chibs has been transformed (?) and it’s caused a storm in space-time (??) and Mamoru knows he’ll find Chibs on the other side of the storm (???) but he needs a key (????) for a thing which nobody knew would exist (?????) but he doesn’t stop two seconds to get it (??????) before running off and everything is very GWOOO.
Oh, remember when Usagi was in this story? Remember when she called her “best friends” by their names?
I SURE FUCKING DON’T
Usagi wanders for a while then eavesdrops on a conversation between Rubeus and Saffir, and then she just talks to Saffir, and things get so fucking inexplicable at this point I’m just not even going to fucking bother trying. Maybe it’s translation, maybe it’s lack of storytelling ability, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been out of soda for three days and am dying inside. I’ll just sum it all up with this unedited panel:
Rubeus, showing the only ounce of sense in this thing, is like “This is some fucked up shit, yo, later.” Then Wiseman kills him, answering the question of why he survived this long. Just kidding, of course it doesn’t.
Mamoru wanders in the storm. Chibs finds him. She’s an adult now. Also maybe naked. Moving on quickly.
At Grand Central Time Gate, Pluto Endymion and Endymion Pluto and Minako Minako are all waiting when Usagi and MARSMERCURYJUPITER appear. Endymion runs off for some reason. WHY DOES HE NEED TO RUN HE IS A FUCKING HOLOGRAM. ALSO HOW IS HE HOLDING USAGI’S LATEST TOY
REMEMBER WHEN HE DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO HUG HIS CRYING BABY DAUGHTER THAT WAS SO AWESOME
Usagi asks where Mamoru and Chibs are. Pluto says they’re lost in time together. USAGI GETS THAT LOOK ON HER FACE AND YOU KNOW WHAT SHE’S THINKING AND JESUS FUCKING WEPT USAGI
Also, I keep seeing this, and I can only assume it’s my subconscious crying out for help that will never come.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve started a new series of analysis posts that I am calling Double Take. Each of these posts will focus on an episode from the first season of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, usually a less-popular episode, and discuss the surprising complexity that some of those early episodes offer.
The season one episodes that I plan on talking about act, I believe, as a kind of “primer” for the audience – that is, an instruction book on how to view future episodes; in other words, these episodes subtly introduce complicated ideas in order to prepare the audience for the later return of these ideas in even more complex forms. One such episode that falls into this category is “The Other Exchange Student.”
Why This Episode?
Like “Lobster Claws,” “The Other Exchange Student” is a lesser-liked episode that many rank near or at the bottom of their list of favorites. I, too, ranked it near the bottom of my favorite episodes. Yet on repeat viewings, I began to realize that there is something very peculiar about this episode – something that, to my knowledge, no one has really remarked on.
In this Double Take, I’ll discuss how Star’s paranoia in “The Other Exchange Student” is – despite being played for laughs – actually quite reasonable. I’ll also connect the lying and conspiracy we see in this episode to later episodes and explain the realizations I think the episode wants us to make.
First things first: Star is absolutely correct to be suspicious of Gustav. Though it’s Star’s jealousy which prompts her to be skeptical of Gustav in the first place, her belief that something is amiss is eventually confirmed by Gustav himself when he breaks down and reveals that he is, in reality, a boy named Charlie Booth.
Yet there’s something peculiar about Gustav’s confession: he never explains why he’s measuring the Diazes in their sleep.
Gustav’s inability to explain his extraordinarily suspicious behavior casts immediate doubt on all of his previous explanations – raising the possibility that he’s simply lying to Star about the rest of his actions.
Now where have we seen someone rattle off plausible explanations in response to a list of suspicious behaviors before?
Webs of Deceit
I’ve written extensively about the (quite frankly) pretty incredible number of lies being told in season two (especially in the finale) by Ludo, Glossaryck, Moon, and Star. What’s more, many of these lies seem to have fooled most viewers. Yet all the way back in “The Other Exchange Student,” we have in Gustav some early exposure to a practiced liar and social chameleon whose motives are unclear.
The show, I think, wants us to draw a parallel between Gustav’s behavior and that of later characters – particularly Ludo and Toffee. In fact, this might be why “The Other Exchange Student” is paired with “Monster Arm.” I firmly believe that each pair of episodes is connected for some reason – and the reason behind the pairing of “Monster Arm” and “The Other Exchange Student” is that they both in some way precede Toffee and Ludo’s relationship. If you are skeptical, consider this: what is Ludo’s wand if not a literal monster arm? And what is Toffee if not (quite literally) part of Ludo now?
But remember that Gustav isn’t the only one who lies in “The Other Exchange Student”; in order to keep them happy, Star lies to the Diazes about what she’s learned. Does that sound familiar? Star admits in “Starcrushed” that she’s been lying to herself and to Marco about her feelings for him – something she did in order to maintain their friendship.
Let’s be honest for a moment: Gustav is no anomaly. When you really think about it, Star vs. the Forces of Evil is absolutely chock-full of shady characters:
Star, who is described – in glowing terms, no less – as a literal criminal.
Glossaryck, who (I argue) is one of the biggest liars of them all.
Pony Head, who lies and steals constantly.
River, who lies to Moon and sneaks away to fight monsters.
Moon, who teaches Star that the truth is dangerous.
Rhombulus, who makes a deal with Star to hide things from the commission.
Buff Frog, who used to torture people professionally.
Janna, who is just shady as all hell.
Tom, who is a psycho stalker.
StarFan13, who constantly stalks Star.
Sensei, who really shouldn’t be running a business.
Oskar, who lives in his car, drops out of school, and has a record.
Roy, who fleeces people for money and sells drugs to kids.
Brigid, who steals hair (for good purposes, granted).
Lydia, who puts up a fake ad about a dog and stalks Star.
… And that list doesn’t even include the “bad guys.” (Sorry about getting off-track, but it just hit me how incredibly weird it is to have so many shady characters – in a Disney cartoon, no less.)
But beyond specific comparisons, I think “The Other Exchange Student” wants to covey some broad messages to the audience as well: it wants us, the audience, to start thinking about the things that characters say; it’s trying to teach us not to trust characters when they say things, to be skeptical, to make our own judgements, and to remember what really happened instead of letting characters feed us misinformation.
In short – and this may be a bitter pill to swallow – “The Other Exchange Student” is just a warm-up. As the series progresses, the lies will get subtler, more complicated, and harder to detect, just as they do in “Starcrushed.” If that seems a little paranoid to you – well, maybe you should be a little paranoid.
Star vs. the Forces of Evil and Other Conspiracy Theories
When we first see Star’s wall of conspiracy in “The Other Exchange Student,” it seems fairly obvious that we, the audience, are intended to react as Marco does and think that Star has gone insane. Yet by the end of the episode, we know the truth: that Gustav really isn’t who he says he is – and in fact might be lying about everything altogether.
This, by the way, isn’t the last time we see Star’s suspicions of someone be dismissed only to later be proven as correct the whole time (see “Trickstar”).
But what are the implications of the fact that Star ends up being correct about Gustav?
Well, the meaning seems fairly simple to me: there are odd connections in the show that form a conspiracy – or plot, if you will – which points to something bigger. And “The Other Exchange Student” is the show’s way of telling us to pursue those connections. How does it tell us that? By revealing that Star isn’t wrong.
I truly cannot emphasize this enough: Star isn’t wrong in “The Other Exchange Student.” We never discover what Gustav is really plotting, and everything that he says to Star may be a lie. For all we know, he might have actually been planning to eat the Diazes the whole time. We simply never learn the real truth behind his origins or motives.
Scoff if you like. Yet, to this day, no one has offered any better explanations as to why, for instance, “The Bounce Lounge” and “The Hard Way” are, almost shot-for-shot, compositionally alike. (Seriously – play both episodes at the same time. It’s uncanny.) I explain the similarity as them being connected through the sonnet’s structure; if you have a better explanation, then please, by all means, provide it.
Furthermore, Lekmet – as noted in my post on the Holy Grail – is almost certainly based on Baphomet, who is connected to the Knights Templar, and I’d be hard-pressed to name any other group whose mere mention conjures up as many images of shadowy global conspiracies, hidden treasures, and murky, blood-soaked legends as the Knights Templar’s does.
And, as you may recall, I finally linked the Holy Grail references to what I believe is a literal Holy Grail in the series – in the form of Lekmet’s horn, no less. If that’s not a conspiracy theory, then I don’t know what is! Yet I didn’t conjure this out of thin air. I watched the series and wrote about it. The evidence is all right there; anyone can see it for themselves – just as Marco might have seen in “The Other Exchange Student” if he had been willing to hear Star out.
And speaking further of conspiracy theories – it amuses me to no end to hear people talk about how much time they spent examining the chalkboard in “Mathmagic.” Even people with degrees in mathematics couldn’t figure out what it means. I think that’s just a case of missing the forest for trees – but I can’t blame them for trying. After all, the music in that final scene sounds suspiciously like the opening theme from Gravity Falls (purposely, no doubt).
Yet, as I write about in my post on the Indiana Jones connection, the important thing on the chalk board is, in fact, the last thing written on it: the number seven. It’s a conspiracy theory worthy of comparison to The Da Vinci Code – don’t you think?
Look – if you want to understand what Star vs. the Forces of Evil is trying to tell you, you have to think like the series. Part of the purpose behind “The Other Exchange Student” – behind many of the early episodes, really – is to teach the audience how to think about the series. But don’t be surprised if sometimes you can’t come up with an answer – after all, maddeningly, we never discover what Gustav is really up to. Some mysteries just go unsolved.
The Sum of Its Parts
Star vs. the Forces of Evil operates on a simple principle: with few exceptions, it forms logically-connected links of meaning through association, and then, as those links accumulate meaning through reuse, the series builds on them to introduce greater and grander concepts. Indeed, the point behind Double Take is to discover those links in the early episodes and suss out where they lead to.
Hopefully, I have convinced you that “The Other Exchange Student” is more important than it first seemed. Maybe I won’t be able to convince you that there is some kind of grand conspiracy in the show – and maybe there isn’t one! – but I think you should certainly take into account the comparison between Gustav’s deceptions and the deceptions of other characters.
I believe the series will only get more challenging and complex with the ideas it wants to convey. My goal as someone writing analysis about the show is to shed light on those complex ideas and make them intelligible. And I hope I have served that purpose here for you today.
If you enjoyed this analysis, please let me know, and especially feel free to let me know if there’s a particular older episode of the series you’d like to see featured in Double Take. I still have a few more episodes that I’m planning to cover with the series.