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ExR Interview with George Blagden

George very kindly exchanged e-mails with me while I was working on my dissertation, which focused on Enjolras and Grantaire’s relationship in Les Misérables. I basically wanted to see if it was viable to view their interactions as being indicative of something more intimate than friendship, and extended that to examine the reception of their relationship in online fandom, which is where George comes in! He asked to share this interview on Twitter - his answers are great at exploring an actor’s process, as well as being a really fantastic and valuable contribution to what I was writing about; I’m super excited about sharing his thoughts and I hope you all enjoy reading them!

Keep reading

Ogham - an introduction

So I may be Dutch, but there’s interesting things to learn from all over the world and from all kinds of cultures. I’ve always had a love of the Irish ogham letters - probably since they’re strongly connected to popular Celtic paganism, and to tree lore. Here’s an introduction to the Ogham I wrote some years ago, that I think is still pretty accurate. Please let me know if you’ve any comments or questions!

History
About ten years ago I came across a book called Celtic Tree Mysteries by Steve Blamires. Now, I’m interested in Celtic stuff, and I love tree and mysteries, so this was the right book for me. Through this book (which in my humble opinion is quite a good start if you want to learn more about this subject) I learned about the Ogham alphabet. This early medieval Irish alphabet has become quite popular in modern Celtic Pagan and Druid circles, mostly as a means of divination, but also for other magical purposes.

As I said, the alphabet is early medieval Irish. It might have been developed when the first Christians came to Ireland and brought the concept of writing with them, but there is no actual proof of that. We have about 400 known inscriptions on stones, most of them names. The functions of these stones is unclear, but most researchers are of the opinion that they mark borders. Other uses of Ogham have been found in manuscripts, and these provide more insight.

Contemporary information on the Ogham is sparse; what has been written about it can be read in high medieval and late medieval manuscripts. These manuscripts are:
The Book of Leinster (12th century)
The Book of Ballymote (1391)
The Book of Lecan (1416)

These manuscripts refer to older sources: The Scholar’s Primer, The Values of the Forfeda and the Book of Ogham.
The Scholar’s Primer says that Ogham was only to be used by learned men – would they be monks or druids? The act of reading and writing was very elite in the early Middle Ages, so we can be sure that the average Irish farmer wouldn’t have been very familiar with Ogham.

The exact origin of Ogham isn’t known, but there some interesting myths and stories have been written down.
In one of the manuscripts we find a legend about the origin of the Ogham: it was developed by Fenius Farsaidh, with the help of Goidel Mac Etheoir and Iar Mac Nema and a whole host of scholars. After the destruction of the Biblical Tower of Babel, Fenius went to search for the letters all over the world that together would make the most perfect language. Each letter was named after a linguist who best devoted his time to this task. Note that ‘Gaelic’ or ‘Goidelic’ (the name of the Irish language) comes from Goidel Mac Etheoir, one of the scholars that developed Ogham.

Apart from this legend, another link has been made by modern scholars with the Celtic Irish god Ogma, who may be compared to the Celtic Gallic god Ogmios. The names of these gods seem connected to Ogham (which, by the way, means something like ‘idea’ or ‘notion’). The Romans liked to compare foreign gods with their own gods and they dubbed Ogmios the ‘Celtic Hercules’, or at least an older version of their Hercules. According to these Roman sources, Ogmios was depicted as an old but strong man with one end of a chain through his tongue, the other end being attached to the ears of an eager public. This has been explained as the power of eloquence, or the power of words, in which the strength of this god lies. There is no direct connection between Ogham and Ogma/Ogmios, but could there be a divine element to the development of Ogham, keeping this part of mythology in mind?

Purpose and meaning
The ancient Celts were mostly an illiterate people. It was the Roman world, and Christianity after that, that brought the written word to those parts in Europe that apparently had no use for it before. This is also the reason why we use the letters we have today instead of systems like the Ogham. Our letters are derived from Roman scripture, and more directly from the letters in medieval manuscripts (especially those made under Charlemagne). To be honest, Ogham isn’t a very practical script – so what was it used for?

Based on where the Ogham has been found, it appears that this alphabet had a few specific uses. First of all, as has already been noted above, Ogham has been found on standing stones, or monoliths. They are said to mark borders, and by doing that they also marked someone’s property. This might also be the reason why mostly names and short phrases (‘of the clan of x’, etc.) are found on these stones, instead of actual texts. There could also be some cryptic message in all this, since not many people were actually able to read Ogham, even in that time – but as far as I know this has been lost.
Ogham that has been found in manuscripts seems to have a different function. It has mostly the purpose of learning, remembering and making connections.

But there are also certain stories in which the Ogham has a more magical purpose. From these old sagas we learn that Ogham was not only written down on stone, but also on wood. This is a material that doesn’t last, so there is no physical evidence, but it seems plausible that this was actually done in reality. There is even one instance where Ogham is written on metal. In the Book of Leinster we find an medieval legend in which an Ogham text on an iron ring around a stone says: ‘Whoever comes to this meadow, if he is armed, he is forbidden to leave this meadow without requesting single combat.’ The only thing stopping someone from simply leaving the meadow without a fight is the text itself – therefore it must hold some magical power. The semi-divine hero Cú Chulainn has another solution; he throws the stone away, with ring and all. In another instance, Cu Chulainn gives a small wooden spear to the king of Alba (Scotland) inscribed with Ogham – it says that the king is allowed to take Cú Chulainn’s seat at the court of Ulster.

There is slight evidence of the use of Ogham as divination in Irish myth, and this is what Ogham is used for today by many Celtic Pagans and Druids. In an Irish legend, a druid writes down Ogham letters on yew sticks and then uses them for divination, but it gives no further details.   Nowadays, what is most popular is to make a branch for every letter and then use this set of branches in several ways. This can be done by blindly drawing one or several sticks and then interpret the meaning of the letter(s). Another way is to throw the branches on ‘Finn’s Window’ (based on the round diagram that can be seen on the parchment page from the Book of Ballymote here depicted) and draw a meaning from how the branches fall.

The technical details
So, after reading all this, you’re probably wondering what this Ogham alphabet actually looks like. I’m not a linguist, but I’ll give you an outlining that’ll hopefully give you more insight.
The Ogham Alphabet doesn’t have the sort of letters that we are familiar with. Its essence is lines; smaller lines that are placed in a series across a longer line. Ogham can be found on standing stones, where this line goes from bottom to top (and from top to bottom on the other side) . It can also be found in parchment manuscripts, where it goes from left to right.
The notches on the long line, the actual letters, are called feda, which means ‘wood’. Is this just a figural way of speaking, since the long vertical line on a stone with the notches on each side does sort of look like a tree?  Or is there more behind this? I don’t know this – then again, I can’t actually read Old Irish, excepts for the few words that are needed to understand the Ogham alphabet, so perhaps someone else can help me out here.
On to the letters and their order:

B  L  F  S  N  H  D  T  C  Q  M G  nG St R A  O  U  E  I  EA  Oi  Ui  iO  AE

That makes 25 letters, of which the last five letters (the so called forfeda) were added at later times – so it appears the oldest version of Ogham had twenty letters.

Keeping these twenty letters in mind, there are four families/series, or aicmí (plural of aicme), that each contain five letters: Aicme Beithe, Aicme hÚatha, Aicme Muine, and Aicme Ailme. Note also that a neat quarter of these letters is a vowel and three quarters exits of consonants.

There is some confusion about the order of the first five letters. In many texts it says BLFSN, but in some other text it says BLNFS. As far as I know, it was Robert Graves in his famous book The White Goddess, who used the sequence of BLNFS first. This has probably to do with the poetic and mythological value he added to each letter, and also with his introduction of the so-called Ogham Tree Calendar. [The tree calendar gives a certain period or time of the year for each letter, e.g. 24 December – 20 January for Beithe. This is a strictly modern invention, though that shouldn’t say everything about its value.] The White Goddess has had a huge influence on many modern pagan and witchcraft traditions, and I think that it’s from this source that the BLNFS-sequence has seeped into the modern use of the Ogham alphabet. However, it seems that more historically authentic sources stick to BLFSN, so that’s the sequence I’m sticking with, too.

Some note about individual letters: iO was original P – for some reason this letter was replaced in later times, leaving the alphabet without a proper P-sound. AE was originally X or CH.

The ‘Tree Alphabet’
So what about the name ‘tree alphabet’? Actually, the Ogham was also a bird alphabet, colour alphabet, river alphabet, etc. It appears that there were many systems that were used for remembering the letters of the Ogham alphabet. Of all these systems (several hundreds, they say), the tree system has been most popular since early times. So, every letter got a tree attached to it, and by memorizing the trees, one was able to memorize the letters. A mnemonic aid of some sorts. Then again, we can’t rule out a deeper, perhaps even magical, meaning for using such a system.

The meaning of the letters connected to the trees was further developed in the uses of kennings, or phrases, known as the Bríatharogham. Three of these lists are known:
Bríatharogham Morainn Mac Moín (who was a human judge)
Bríatharogham Mac Oengus (god)
Bríatharogham Cú Chulainn (semi-divine hero, we’ve already noted him in connection to the Ogham)
The translations of these kennings can be found below, under each individual letter.

The separate letters

Beithe
Literal meaning: birch, (a) being
Letter: B
Tree: birch (beithe)
Book of Ballymote: Now Beithe has been named from the Birch owing to its resemblance to the trunk of that tree. Of withered trunk, fair-haired the Birch.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Faded trunk and fair hair/withered foot with fine hair.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Browed beauty, worthy of pursuit/beauty of the eyebrow.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Most silver of skin/greyest of skin.

Luis
Literal meaning: flame, herb
Letter: L
Tree: rowan (caertheand)
Book of Ballymote: Luis is named from Mountain Ash (caertheand) as it is the old Gaelic name for rowan. [Delightful] for eyes is Mountain Ash owing to the beauty of its berries.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Delight of eye, quicken-tree; to whit, the flame/luster of the eye.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Strength of cattle/sustenance of cattle.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Friend of cattle.

Fearn
Literal meaning: alder
Letter: F
Tree: alder (fearn)
Book of Ballymote: Fearn, Alder, the van of the warrior band for thereof are the shields.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Shield of warrior bands, owing to their redness/vanguard of warriors.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Protection of the heart, a shield/protection of the heart.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Guarding of milk, or milk bucket/milk container.

Saille
Literal meaning: willow
Letter: S
Tree: Willow (saille)
Book of Ballymote: Tthe colour of a lifeless one that is, it has no colour, owing to the resemblance of the colour to a dead person.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Hue of the lifeless/pallor of a lifeless one.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Beginning of loss, willow/beginning of honey.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Strength of bees/sustenance of bees.

Nion
Literal meaning: branch fork, loft
Letter: N
Tree: ash (uinnius)
Book of Ballymote: Nion, Ash-tree, a check on peace is Nion for of it are made the spear-shafts by which the peace is broken.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Checking of peace/establishing of peace.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Flight of beauty, a weaver’s beam/boast of beauty.
Word Ogham of Oengus: The flight of women/boast of women.

hUuath
Literal meaning: horror, fear
Letter: (silent) H
Tree: white thorn
Book of Ballymote: A meet of hounds is Huath (whitethorn), or because it is formidable owing to its thorns.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Pack of wolves/assembly of pack of hounds.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Difficult night, hawthorn/most difficult at night.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Whitening of face/blanching of faces.

Duir
Literal meaning: oak
Letter: D
Tree: oak (duir)
Book of Ballymote: Duir, Oak, higher than bushes is an oak.
Word Ogham of Morainn: highest of bushes/highest tree
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Kneeling work, bright and shining work/most carved of craftmanship
Word Ogham of Oengus: Craft work/handicraft of a craftsmanship.

Tinne
Literal meaning: metal bar, ingot.
Letter: T
Tree: holly (cuileand)
Book of ballymote: A third of a wheel is Tinne, because holly is one of the three timbers of the chariot wheel.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Third of a wheel/one of three parts of a wheel.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: A third of weapons, an iron bar/one of three parts of a weapon.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Fires of coal/marrow of (char)coal.

Coll
Literal meaning: hazel
Letter: C
Tree: hazel (coll)
Book of Ballymote: Coll, that is everyone is eating of its nuts.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Fairest of trees/fairest tree.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Sweetest of woods, a nut/sweetest tree.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Friend of cracking/friend of nutshells

Quert
Literal meaning: bush
Letter: Q
Tree: apple (aball)
Book of Ballymote: Shelter of a wild hind is is Quert, that is, an apple tree.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Shelter of a hind, lunatic or death/sense [the time when a lunatic’s sense comes back to him]/shelter of a lunatic.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Excellent emblem, protection/dregs of clothing.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Force of a man/substance of an insignificant person.

Muin
Literal meaning: not certain – neck, ruse/trick, love/esteem
Letter: M
Tree: vine (finemhain)
Book of Ballymote: Highest of beauty is Muin, that is, because it grows aloft. That is, a vine-tree.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Highest of beauty, strongest of effort, Muin equals back of man or ox for it is they in existence that are strongest as regards effort./strongest in exertion.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Pack of wolves with spears, three vines/path of the voice.
Word Ogham of Oengus: The condition of slaughter/proverb of slaughter.

Gort
Literal meaning: field (as in: garden)
Letter: G
Tree: ivy (edind)
Book of Ballymote: Gort, that is ivy, greener than pastures is ivy.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Greenest of pastures, sweeter than grasses, due to associations with corn fields/sweetest grass.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Pleasing oil, corn/sating of multitudes.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Size of a warrior/suitable place for cows.

nGetal
Literal meaning: slaying
Letter: nG
Tree: broom (cilcach)
Book of Ballymote: nGetal, broom or fern, a physician’s strength is broom.
Word Ogham of Morainn: A physician’s strength, panacea equals broom/sustenance of a leech.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: beginning of heroic deeds, healing/beginning of slaying.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Robe of physicians/raiment of physicians.

Straiph,
Literal meaning: sulphur
Letter: St
Tree: blackthorn (draighin)
Book of Ballymote: The hedge of a stream is straiph, that is, blackthorn.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Careful effort, strongest of red, straiph equals sloe which gives strong red dye on metal/strongest reddening (dye).
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: An arrow’s mist, smoke drifting up from the fire/seeking of clouds.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Increasing of secrets/increase of secrets.

Ruis
Literal meaning: red
Letter: R
Tree: elder (trom)
Book of Ballymote: The redness of shame is Ruis, that is, elder.
Word Ogham of Morainn: intensest of blushes, it I reddening of a man’s face through the juice of the herb being rubbed on it/most intense blushing.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Arduous anger, punishment/glow of anger.
Word Ogham of Oengus: redness of faces/reddening of faces.

Ailm
Literal meaning: pine (?)
Letter: A
Tree: fir or pine
Book of Ballymote: Ailm, a fir tree, a pine tree.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Loudest of groanings, that is, wondering. Ailm or A for that is what a man says while groaning in disease or wonder/loudest groan.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Beginning of the weaver’s beams, ahh/beginning of calling.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Beginning of answers/beginning of an answer.

Onn
Literal meaning: ash-tree
Letter: O
Tree: furze (aiten)
Book of Ballymote: Onn that is furze.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Helper of horses, wheels of a chariot, equally wounding; whin/wounder of horses.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Strength of warriors, fierceness/[equipment]  of warriorbands.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Gentlest of work/smoothest of craftsmanship.

Ur
Literal meaning: earth, clay, soil
Letter: U
Tree: heather (fraech)
Book of Ballymote: Ur, that is heath.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Terrible tribe, in cold dwellings; mould of the earth, or heath/in cold dwellings.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Completion of lifelessness, the grave/shroud of a lifeless one.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Growing of plants/propagation of plants.

Edhad
Literal meaning: unknown
Letter: E
Tree: aspen (crithach)
Book of Ballymote: Horrible grief, that is, test tree or aspen.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Distinguished man or wood/discerning tree.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Kinsman to the birch, aspen/brother of birch (?)
Word Ogham of Oengus: Additional name for a friend/exchange of friends.

Idhad
Literal meaning: yew-tree (?)
Letter: I
Tree: yew (idhad)
Book of Ballymote: Yew.
Word Ogham of Morainn: Oldest of woods, service tree, yes/oldest tree
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: strength or colour of a sick man, people or an age/energy of an infirm person.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Abuse for an ancestor or pleasing consent/fairest of the ancients.

Ebad
Literal meaning: unknown
Letter: EA
Tree: apsen (critchach)
Word Ogham of Morainn: Fair-swimming letter.
Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn: Fairest fish.
Word Ogham of Oengus: [admonishing?] of an infirm person.

Óir
Literal meaning: gold
Letter: OI
Tree: spindle-tree or ivy (feorus, edind)
Word Ogham of Morainn: Most venerable substance.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Splendour of form.

Uillen
Literal meaning: elbow
Letter: UI
Tree: honeysuckle (edleand)
Word Ogham of Morainn: Fragnant tree.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Great elbow/cubit.

Iphín
Literal meaning: spine, thorn (?)
Letter: IO
Tree: gooseberry or thorn (spinan, ispin)
Word Ogham of Morainn: Sweetest tree.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Mostwonderful taste.

Emancholl
Literal meaning: twin of hazel
Letter: AE
Word Ogham of Morainn: Groan of a sick person.
Word Ogham of Oengus: Groan of a sick person

Translated the Nagisa/Rei Interview from the Free! ES Vol. 5 DVD~

Today we will be interviewing the Iwatobi Swim Club members Nagisa Hazuki and Rei Ryugazaki.

Nagisa: Thanks for having us!

Rei: Yes, thank you very much for having us here.

Nagisa: Hey, Rei-chan, you nervous or something?

Rei: There is no need for me to be, with someone like me! How about you, Nagisa-kun?

Nagisa: I’m pretty nervous myself hehe.

Rei: Please don’t lie.

Nagisa: Ehehe!

Rei: I guess it’s kind of pointless to ask you if you’re nervous, but anyway, let’s get started!

Nagisa: Roger!

All right, then first, please tell us about how you two met each other.

Rei: I used to be affiliated with the track team before, but then Nagisa-kun invited me to the swim club. Since we were in the same class, he wouldn’t stop talking about it, and I guess it started from there.

Nagisa: Yup yup! I was in charge of recruiting new members, so I tried my best! And then afterwards when I saw the name on your shoe box, I was seriously super surprised! But more than anything else, when you flew over that high jump, I thought it was really beautiful, so I thought to myself that if you were to swim, it would be just as beautiful!

Rei: I still don’t get why you thought my name was valid reason to invite me…

Nagisa: Hey, but it’s all good though! Rei-chan is a great name! Rei-chan, Rei-chan, Rei-chan, Re–!!

Rei: Gahhhhhh, please stop saying people’s names like that!!!

All right then, now we would like to introduce a theme for you two to talk about! 

Nagisa: Aw yeah I’ve been waiting for this!

Rei: Why do you know about this, Nagisa-kun?

Nagisa: Cuz this is the third time I’ve done this type of interview ☆ I’m a super veteran!

Rei: I suppose you do have experience in this field then… 

Continuing on with the free talk, the theme that we would like to introduce to you two today is the following: You wake up and SURPRISE! You’ve switched bodies! What do you do?

Rei: Absolutely unbelievable.

Nagisa: Hey hey, it’s just a what-if scenario. W~h~a~t~I~f!

Since you two seem to be quite opposites of each other, please let us know what you would do if you were in the place of the other? What would you want to try?

Rei: Such an absurd illogical thing…saying it would be…

Nagisa: If I were Re—

Rei: Absolutely not.

Nagisa: But I didn’t even say anything!

Rei: You don’t need to say anything for me to already know. For example, you would say “If I were Rei-chan hmm~ In the morning on the way to school I’d go running with butterflies for a bit~ Then  challenge the train to a race a win, then for lunch I’d get super sweaty while joking around with Haru-chan and Mako-chan, then I’ll swim butterfly the wrong way, and on my way home I’ll pole vault back using only 5 steps!” or something like that.

Nagisa: ……..

Rei: You seem to have a serious face of “HOW DID YOU KNOW I WOULD DO THAT?!” Don’t tell me I actually got it right!

Nagisa: Nah, I’d pole vault home in 3 steps, but pretty close though! ☆

Rei: What is exactly “pretty close?!”

Nagisa: Hey now, how about you, Rei-chan?

Rei: Ah….that’s right. If I were to do this then well, as the saying goes, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Fufufu….muahahahaha~~~

Nagisa: Re…Rei-chan…what exactly do you plan to do with my body?

Rei: Please do not refer to it in such a indecent way! I uh…that’s right! The first thing I would do…is wake up at 5am and drink a super healthy green shake (T/N this tastes like shit lol), then give all my beloved strawberries to my sisters!

Nagisa: EHHHH!!?!?!?

Rei: And then #2! On my way to school I will read the math book that I love so much and then do some arithmetic by timing myself mentally.

Nagisa: What?!?!

Rei: And #3! Lunchtime. I would break apart the Iwatobi Surprise bread and give it all away to pigeons!

Nagisa: But that’s my lunch…!!!

Rei: But that’s not all! #4! Swim Club. I’d do chest exercises, back exercises, and 300 push-ups before going into the pool!

Nagisa: Gou-chan would kill me!

Rei: And lastly, #5! On the way home I’d give my strawberry dessert to my sisters and then go to bed by 9pm!

Nagisa: That’s…if I were to do that my body would definitely break and spontaneously combust!

Rei: Fufufu…Do you understand this now? If I were to become Nagisa-kun, exactly what I would do…

Nagisa: No! I do not want to change bodies!

Rei: That’s good!

 You two seem to get along very well in class, but how about outside of school? Do you hang out often?

Nagisa: We always go home on the same train, and we often go back to Rei-chan’s house to hang out.

Rei: Nagisa-kun visits very often, so he is very accustomed to my entire family. 

How do you spend time at Rei-kun’s house?

Nagisa: Well, there aren’t any manga books in Rei-chan’s house, so we would watch DVDs, talk, and also study and do homework.

Rei: Your grades have definitely improved, so you really are trying your best, right Nagisa-kun?

Nagisa: Hehehe, you’re making me all embarrassed…Rei-chan’s the one who taught me after all, so even though I was really bad at math before, I’ve come to understand it now!

Rei: If you concentrate on the problems before you, I’m sure you’ll be able to pull through.

Nagisa: Thank you for everything always, Rei-chan ☆

Rei: You’re very welcome.

All right, then the next question we have for you is what do you think about your senpai, Haruka Nanase-kun and Makoto Tachibana-kun?

Nagisa: I love them of course!

Rei: Yes, I do as well. The two of them are very respectable senpai.

Nagisa: Ah, that’s right! For this question we need to…hold up…*fumble fumble* AHA! ☆

Rei: A…video camera? 

It’ll be good to use it! 

Nagisa: When I did this interview with Haru-chan last time, we forgot to bring it so, all righty then, Rei-chan, come here~

Rei: Is this going to be a video letter? Nagisa-kun, don’t you think you’re a bit too close? Shoot this properly, please!

Nagisa: Ah, I just got a shot of your glasses!

Rei: ……

Well then, first please record a message for Haruka-kun.

Rei: Ah, yes…well…”the reason why I wanted to enter the swim club was actually thanks to seeing Haruka senpai’s swimming. When you taught me how to be free, I was very happy. I hope that no matter what times you go through, I want Haruka-senpai to swim in his own free way.”

Nagisa: Ah, thanks!

Rei: And what about you, Nagisa-kun?

Nagisa: I already did it last time, so it’s all good.

Thank you very much. Next up is a message for Makoto-senpai.

Rei: Thank you for always being so nice to us kouhai. Makoto-senpai is the core of the swim club and always lets me feel very warmly welcomed. You’re a very reliable captain. But we hope that from here on out we will be able to grow ourselves and perhaps in the future, Makoto-senpai will be the one who will be able to rely on us instead, so let’s do our best from here on out!

Nagisa: All right! Thanks for the content ☆! Let’s have a viewing next time since I have Rei-chan’s, Mako-chan’s, and Haru-chan’s messages!

Rei: Wait…if you say that you don’t mean…no one has recorded a message for you?

Nagisa: Ah, is that so? Maybe?

Rei: Wait, that just won’t do! I suppose it can’t be helped. I’ll be the one who will record it next time, from Haruka-senpai, Makoto-senpai, and also from me as well!

Nagisa: Wait, it’s fine really!

Rei: No, it’s not! Why would Nagisa-kun put others in front of himself? Here, please lend me the camera.

Nagisa: Ehehe, thanks, Rei-chan.

In closing, please leave a message to everyone who is reading this interview!

Nagisa: Thanks for reading our interview! Doing an interview with Rei-chan was super fun! I hope that when times are bad for Haru-chan and Mako-chan, they can look back and think about the good times when we were able to laugh and think that everything will be all right. I hope we can give them that assurance. That’s why please cheer us on from here on out—we’d be very happy if you did!

Rei: Thank you for reading this far. I cherish all the time I spend with Haruka-senpai, Makoto-senpai, and Nagisa-kun, and with all of our power, we would like to continue swimming from here on out!

Thank you very much for your time!

Q&A
Episode 9: You guys were really trying your best even until nighttime!

Nagisa: We repeated our exchanges so many times that we basically etched the time into our bodies!

Rei: Doing the exchanges was indeed interesting and fun—quite different from track actually.

Nagisa: I know right! So then let’s train again today~

Rei: That is a most excellent idea.

Haruka-kun is quite a celebrity.

Nagisa: As expected of Haru-chan!

Rei: Why, it should be obvious since Haruka-senpai shows his real self when swimming!

Nagisa: Captain Mikoshiba also went to a kind of swimming university also!

Rei: Well, he is a very strong person after all.

It seems that Rin-kun and Makoto-kun were talking about something important.

Rei: Ah, it is quite a surprise to see that Rin-san was there.

Nagisa: And it really hurt when he flicked me on the forehead! I must plan my revenge.

Rei: Don’t get too ahead of yourself. Even though it was a bit surprising, it was good to see each other again.

Nagisa: Yup! And next time it’ll be war!

Episode 10: Unfortunately, you were not able to make it to your own individual events.

Nagisa: Well, that’s what you get from regionals, I guess.

Rei: We realized that what we have been doing so far really hasn’t been enough.

Nagisa: Well, at least during that time Mako-chan also didn’t make it, so we were all pretty worried…

Rei: That’s right. But at least Haruka-senpai was able to come back to our side in the end.

Nagisa: I wonder if we were able to swim well that time?

Rei: Of course we did!

The interaction between the two competing teams was very hot and cool, though!

Nagisa: I thought that no matter what, I definitely can’t lose to Ai-chan!

Rei: What about me?!

Nagisa: And Haru-chan said he wanted us to give our all to compete with Rin-chan’s team so…

Rei: Yes, it really motivated us strongly!

Nagisa: Mako-chan was also super heated up!

Rei: That’s right. It was a very reliable moment!

~~~

The Reigisa is strong in this.

Another old interview. It’s from 2012 where Ohtaka is talking about the Magi anime:

Q: first of all, how does it feel now that Magi has become popular?
A: I’m totally grateful for that. Every Time the readers express their love for the characters or give their detailed impression on the story, it leaves me dumbfounded and emotional that I managed to write such a beloved work. Magi is a story about the adventures of the mysterious boy, Aladdin, who travels with his friends in search of dungeons that hide treasures in their depths. During his travels, Aladdin meets and parts with all sorts of people and fights all sorts of enemies, and he comes closer to understanding his destiny. Dreams and adventures, magic and dungeons, camaraderie and friendship and battles. By incorporating those and other classic shounen manga themes, it’s becoming a work that can thrill and be enjoyed by different age groups. Having it based on the world of One Thousand and One Nights also makes it easier to familiarize with the setting.

Q: can you tell us the story of how this manga came to be?
A: since long ago, I loved shounen manga and wished to draw an adventure and fantasy-themed manga published in a shounen magazine. In the beginning, I wrote a one-shot (yomikiri) depicting the adventures of Aladdin and his partner, Alibaba. Like something placed on a chopping board and like two cooperating in a three-legged race, the editor and I exchanged opinions and debated and it evolved into the current Magi.

Q: can you tell us about the joy and the hardships of working on manga?
A: even now, like someone fighting for dear life, I work on the storyboard at a family restaurant everyday while trying to come up with ideas. If I manage to complete a good storyboard, the work that comes after is enjoyable, if I don’t, it gets rough. I just get fired up while thinking ‘this is interesting!’ and let it ferment for a little while. When I calm down I read it over, and it drives me crazy how it sounds like a love letter that I wrote in the dead of the night. When I’m at home, I spend the day working while listening to Final Fantasy 6 and other soundtracks. Right now, I have no time to rest. To a manga author, hardship makes up 90% of their time, while as fun makes up the remaining 10%.

Q: regarding the anime adaption, what are you looking forward to?
A: more than anything, I hope it will turn out into something that will make the fans happy. That it will be handled with care and won’t stray too far from the original work. It will also make me happy if Magi got more new fans. In the case of manga, the tempo and the number of pages it gets in a magazine are limiting. As a result, there are scenes and details I really want to include, but I have to omit tearfully. That what makes me look forward to the anime: that it will cover those and expand on the setting.

Q: any last message to the readers?
A: the anime gives color to the panels and makes the characters in them move. It’s something that can be enjoyed because it has a charm that the manga lacks. The manga as well is getting exciting, please, root for both!

Mojo Q and A

Okay folks I know a lot of you lovely people wanted to know the details of the Q and A so I’m gonna attempt to do a post about it. Naturally, because it’s me writing it, it’s going to be very long and rambling and I’ll probably digress quite a bit. I apologise. I’m also emotionally and physically drained so further apologies for any bits that don’t actually make sense. Also I met Ben and that’s actually all I can think about. See I can’t even get through the opening paragraph without mentioning it. And now I feel all tingly.

Moving on.

Not spoiler free. Sorry you guys. I can’t help but include spoilers.

Keep reading

google.com
Google search results for "Alcor"

If you click this link, you’ll notice that the first result is the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Now I want to see fic based off of this

Ask and you shall receive!

———————————————

Sabrina’s eyes started to glaze over as she skimmed through the Alcor Life Extension Foundation company e-mails. Spam, spam, spam… Man, they really needed to get better spam filters. And who fell for those spam messages in this day and age, anyway? Were there really still people out there who were ignorant enough to blindly trust that somebody who e-mailed them out of the blue could help enlarge their penis or set them up on a hot date? Or were spammers so dedicated to their cause that they never considered spending their time and effort in a more productive way?

After deleting a dozen e-mails without opening them, the woman hesitated, her cursor hovering over another one. PLEASE HELP ME ALCOR!!! read the subject line.

On the one hand, that subject line read along the lines of several e-mails that she had already deleted just a few moments earlier… but on the other hand, the e-mail lacked other markers of a typical spam e-mail. There was no attachment that threatened to be a virus in disguise, the sender’s e-mail address was not some grotesquely misspelled version of a real company’s name or a jumble of random words vaguely related to the e-mail’s subject but instead the surprisingly normal (if unprofessional) “yankeepixie”, and it even mentioned the company name in the header.

After some deliberation, curiosity got the better of her. Sabrina opened the e-mail.

The e-mail’s contents only served to further increase the mystery behind the message’s arrival.

Please please PLEASE help me Alcor!!! I have leukemia and the doctors say I only have a few months longer to live and I don’t want to die I’m only 13!!! Please make a deal with me, I’ll give you anything you want, just DON’T LET ME DIE!!!!!! T_T

Sabrina sighed. The e-mail might not have been spam, but given how little sense it made and how irrelevant it appeared to be for the company, it might as well have been. Still, she figured it couldn’t hurt to send a reply message.

Dear YankeePixie,

Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, Alcor Life Extension Foundation is unable to accept minors as members at this time. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Sincerely,

Sabrina Rivera

Front Office Administrator

Alcor Life Extension Foundation

She sent the e-mail off, and her mind soon drifted towards other things… until, a few hours later, the next e-mail came.

This one was entitled Alcor please help my husband:

Alcor,

My husband and I were recently in a car accident, and while I escaped with only a broken leg, he’s been in and out of a coma since. Please, if there’s any way you could extend his life, even by just a few more months, I would be incredibly grateful. Our daughter’s wedding is in six weeks, and I know we would all be heartbroken if he passed away before then! Whatever the cost, I know it would be worth it.

-Tamara

Even then, Sabrina didn’t quite make the connection. It sounded like somebody had just gotten the meaning of “life extension” confused again. Didn’t anybody read the FAQ these days? Seriously, people were getting dumber and lazier by the day…

Over the next few weeks, the front office received an ever-increasing number of messages, letters soon becoming almost as numerous as the e-mails, all from people who asked not about future cryogenic freezing but about having longer lifespans right now. The woman soon realized that something was wrong, but she first assumed it was some misstep in their latest marketing campaign, something that she would have to bring up to Carl when he came back from his vacation to Aruba. Sabrina began to treat the messages as spam when she was able to identify them right off the bat, because they provided equally nonexistent value to their company, but it was harder to identify the letters at a glance, so she still had to open each and every one just in case this one contained an actual inquiry.

It was the letters, therefore, that tipped her off to the actual problem.

Few of them had used the full title of their organization, “Alcor Life Extension Foundation”, when addressing them, but Sabrina had initially assumed that their being referred to as simply “Alcor” was just a misguided attempt at familiarity. But then other messages, far from using the organization’s proper name, referenced what sounded like a different entity altogether.

Alcor the demon. Alcor the Dreambender.

On a whim, the woman decided to Google the name “Alcor”, to see whether she could find the source of the odd messages that way.

Sabrina smiled as she saw that the front page of the website for their organization still topped the list of the Google search results. A couple of others referenced the organization, while the Wikipedia page for the star which was the foundation’s namesake remained in the top ten. (The star Alcor was supposedly “a test for clear vision”, as the foundation’s mission page phrased it, though the woman sometimes wondered if its other moniker of “the forgotten one” wasn’t more appropriate given how the media had been overlooking their work in the years since the Transcendence.) But in between… there were several demonology pages referencing an entirely different Alcor. An Alcor who was a demon, an Alcor who called himself Alcor the Dreambender.

Sabrina’s heart raced as she read through the information about this other, new Alcor and realized who the strange messages had been meant to reach all along. She began printing out page after page, her usual concern about Paul’s lambasting her for using up too much of the company’s paper and ink now far from her mind, gathering them up together and stuffing them into a dirty black binder that had been gathering dust in the corner of Sabrina’s desk ever since she could remember. She ran across the building, clutching the binder to her chest as if it were her child, and banged on the door of the foundation president’s office, barely noticing the white flecks of paint that fell off with every hit.

The door slowly squeezed open, revealing a rotund figure in a brown business suit.

“Sabrina, what’s going on?”

The woman thrust the binder into the president’s hands. “This. This is what’s going on.”

The man sat back in his plush chair while Sabrina remained standing, absentmindedly tapping out a pattern with her foot. With every page he flipped, his face grew paler and paler, and by the time he shut the binder again, he resembled a caricature of a ghost more than a living, breathing human being.

“Oh my.” He breathed.

“So. Max. What should we do about this?”

The two locked eyes. “Well, since you discovered… all this, I suppose you might have some ideas for me.”

Sabrina broke into a thin, nervous smile. “Actually, yes. As I see it, you have three main options here.”

The president waved his hand around lazily. “Go on.”

The woman held up one finger. “The first option is, we pretend like we never noticed this and go on as we have been. Dealing with all those messages might be frustrating, but it’d certainly be the easiest and most straightforward option for us to implement.”

He cleared his throat. “Right, right.”

She held up a second finger. “The second option is, we change our company name to something else, something that avoids us being associated with this new demon figure. I know that would require a lot of work on our part, and it might lead to some confusion among members and non-members alike, but it might be the only way of establishing ourselves as separate from this other Alcor for good.”

The president nodded slightly. “I understand. It’s certainly a lot to think about. But then… what, pray tell, is the third option?”

Sabrina held up another finger, and her foot tapping grew louder and faster. “The third option is…” The woman silenced her foot and flashed the president a wide, though still thin, smile. “We find this demon who calls himself Alcor, and we make ourselves a deal.”