Tag Archives: naruto

Fan Fiction Friday!!!

Happy spring, fellow fangirls! I’ve spent most of the last month reading every new Kakasaku fic I could find (and re-reading all of the good old ones). I’m kind of Kakasaku’d out for the moment. *sad face* But I just had give alifestylechoice some props for her piece, “Heart of Patience.”

I’ve been reading alifestyle’s stories for a while now and I’ve been waiting for her to write a one-shot that I could recommend and not feel like a complete and utter pervert (seriously, “Summer and Secrets”? “The Third Time”? *blinks* Wow). It’s finally here! In “Heart of Patience,” Sakura is working herself to the bone, desperately trying to find a cure for blindness that the Sharingan is causing. Sasuke is already blind as a bat and she doesn’t want the same to happen to Kakashi. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself and having already “let Sasuke down,” she’s frantically trying to keep Kakashi from suffering the same fate.

I enjoyed this story because while on the surface it’s a race against time to solve a very tangible problem, the underneath the underneath is wrapped up in pride and failure and acceptance. And, yes, love. Kakashi and Sakura’s relationship is so comfortable that them falling in love is mostly treated like a byproduct of the friendship they’ve built over time. There are no fireworks, no gazing across a room and wanting to tear each other’s clothes off. They just grow together until they realize they can’t live without one another. And, really, isn’t that the best kind of love? *sigh*

Rated PG. Grade: B.


My Top Five Favorite Anime Intros

I know people who swear that if an anime’s theme song sucks, then the anime itself will suck, too. I don’t prescribed to that thinking (sometimes it does…sometimes it doesn’t), but it is pleasantly surprising when a song matches the feel of a show. So I give you my top five favorite anime intros:

1. Cowboy Bebop, “Tank.” Could there be a more perfect theme song for Cowboy Bebop than “Tank”? The jazzy intro naturally enhances the film noir aspects of the show.

2. Gunslinger Girl, “The Light Before We Land.” There is something so desperate and heart-breaking yet hopeful about Gunslinger Girl and “The Light Before We Land” captures that feeling perfectly.

3. Samurai Champloo, “Battlecry.” Despite its many flaws, I still love some forms of hip-hop and this song works so well for Sam Cham. It’s brash and cocky, just like Mugen and Jin.

4. Naruto Shippuden, “Hero’s Come Back.” The first of (many) Shippuden intros, “Hero’s Come Back” sets the tone for the title character’s return. He’s back and finally ready to prove his worth to the village he’s sworn to protect.

5. Paranoia Agent, “Yume No Shima Shinen Kouen.” Who else but Satoshi Kon would want his characters laughing to an upbeat song as the world falls apart around them? Creepy. But then again, he did make Perfect Blue and Paprika, so it fits.

What are your favorites?

Fan Fiction Friday!!!

I have a very short list of favorite fan fiction writers and Redbrunja is among them, somewhere near the top. Why? Because her writing is so well done, so spot on, that she can make me ship just about anything. And I do mean anything.

Red is the master of the quick fic, capable of saying a lot with very few words. (Take this little gem, for  example: Naruto/Sakura, take 1: He’d rather be Second Best than Dead Last. Ugh, I don’t even like those two together but this kills me.) But when she does go long, more often than not, it’s made of all kinds of win. One of the many pairings I’ve come to appreciate more due to Red’s writing is Tsunade/Jiraiya.

At first glance, these two are either comic relief or used as a parallel to Naruto and Sakura’s relationship. I didn’t even think twice about how complicated and angst-y their relationship is/was until I read “Jester.” In it, Jiraiya gets his shot at Tsunade, only to realize that he loves her in the worst way and is an absolute fool for doing so. The story gives some additional context to support the way they interact in canon. Jiraiya is always attempting to ease Tsunade’s fears, playing the role of the lovable, happy-go-lucky wanderer to her head-strong leader. He knows he’ll never break through the walls she’s built up around herself; all he can do is play his position.

Like with all of her fics, Red covers a lot of ground in a few sentences, using words sparingly to mark whole periods of time without rushing the narrative. The sentences “Jiraiya was on a mission when she met Dan” and “Jiraiya was on a mission when she lost Dan” are only a sentence apart, indicative of the cruel way fate has given Tsunade happiness and then just as quickly, taken it away. It’s the fleeting nature of happiness that Tsunade runs from right up until Jiraiya’s death.

For all intents and purposes, I think Jiraiya is a romantic. A lecherous horndog of a romantic but a romantic nonetheless. But his relationship with Tsunade is the one thing he can’t truly gloss over the way he does everything else. She won’t let him. In “Jester,” he finally sees why she can’t.

Grade: A. Rated NC-17. (Please heed the rating.)

What Really Happens When Naruto and Hinata Have “The Talk”

After Hinata’s daring attempt to rescue Naruto, she doesn’t see him again for months. They eventually run into each other on the village streets and this is what happens:

Hinata: *surprised* N-Naruto-kun…I-I didn’t know you were back.
Naruto: Oh, hi, Hinata. *smiles uncomfortably* Yea, I’ve been back for a couple of weeks now.
Hinata: A few…weeks?
Naruto: There’s a lot of clean up and rebuilding to be done. I thought the village could use my help dattebayo.
Hinata: Oh. *looking at the ground* I…thought…th-that you’d come and see me in the hospital when you got back…so that we could…t-talk.
Naruto: I’m sorry, Hinata. *grins sheepishly* I’ve been really busy and I’d been meaning to stop by, but, oh well, I’m here now, right? What did you want to talk about?
Hinata: What did I want to…talk about? *stares blankly at him*
Naruto: Yea.
Hinata: *vein in forehead popping* What did I want to talk about?
Naruto: *looking confused*
Hinata: *channeling her inner Sakura* You mean what did I want to talk about other than me telling you that I love you and then promptly getting my ass handed to me by Pain?!?
Naruto: *swallows lump in throat* Uh, about that. I-
Hinata: And you don’t even have the decency to come and visit me in the hospital?!?
Naruto: Oi, Hinata, I-
Hinata: *punches him with Gentle Step Twin Lion Fists and walks away*

Hot For Teacher: Shipping KakaSaku

With all of the potential relationships brimming right under the surface in anime and manga, it’s difficult not to have an OTP (one true pair). There are plenty of pairs that could turn into couples based on their interactions in canon if manga creators chose to go that route, but I find most of these pairings lame to the tenth power. Naruto and Hinata? Kinda boring. Ichigo and Inoue? Definitely boring. Naruto and Sakura? Blech. Lee and Sakura? That’s just scary. Sakura and Sasuke? Heeeelllll no. These are far too one-sided to be any good; the partner who wants the relationship the most would most likely bear the brunt of the responsibility for maintaining it.

Side note: On the shipworthiness of Shikamaru and Temari, I think Temari would just browbeat Shikamaru into doing what she wanted and he would go along with it because it would be “too troublesome” to do otherwise. Same would go for Ichigo and Rukia. And Ino and Choji. The only couples that are, as church folk like to say, “equally yoked” are Roy and Riza, and Winry and Ed.

I’m shipping RoyRiza pretty hardcore right now, but for my OTP, I prefer to go completely non-canonical, so it’s Kakashi and Sakura for the win. (By the way, I’m not talking about an underage Sakura. I’m talking about a 21-and-over Sakura. I’m not into Lolita-esque coupling. Gross.) I don’t remember exactly which fanfic got me hooked on KakaSaku, but there are so many things that would make their relationship deliciously complicated and oh so satisfying. The two big ones are:

1) The age difference. Kakashi is/was Sakura’s sensei. Yes, yes, it’s cliche, but it provides so much tension. She’s 14 years his junior so people would assume he’s robbing the cradle. Whether he is varies from fic to fic. Either way, most fan fiction writers exploit the bone of contention a relationship like this would cause among Sakura and Kakashi’s friends and family. Think about how you’ve reacted to a situation like that in real life. Were you supportive of the couple in question? Or did you turn up your nose?

2) Emotional maturity, or lack thereof. The biggest point to consider when shipping KakaSaku is that Kakashi is (and always will be) emotionally unavailable and Sakura is (and always will be) emotionally starved. I’ve talked about this before. I think that Kakashi’s need to protect his comrades could be easily misread when it comes to his female comrades. And Sakura’s urge to heal makes her vulnerable to hooking up with “fixer uppers.”

Why am I talking about relationships that don’t exist in canon? Because I’m a woman and we’re genetically predisposed to talk about relationships? Maybe it has something to do with having a uterus. I don’t know. Discuss.

(Shout out to the ladies over at the KakaSaku Livejournal Community! You rock my world!)

Fan Fiction Friday!!!

To me, finding good fan fiction and assessing what makes it good really depends on how well you know the manga/anime on which stories are based. Since Naruto is my current obsession, these FFF posts will be Naruto-centric for the foreseeable future. Next up: “Ripple Effect” by rayemars. What would happen if Naruto overused the demon fox chakra? How would Sasuke really be treated if he came back to Konoha? What if Sakura started dating *gasp* Rock Lee? This tale diverges from canon some time before Sasuke kills Orochimaru and takes a somewhat dystopian view of life in the hidden village if Naruto and Sakura’s ultimate wish came true. rayemars has quite a way with description and development, and unlike most writers who hypothesize on what a Team Seven reunion would be like, she doesn’t equate Sasuke’s return with a fairytale ending. He’s a missing nin who has to pay for his transgressions. Feelings have been hurt and tensions must be eased, but can the damage caused really ever be fixed?

Rated M. Grade: A.

Artist of the Month: Juice Lee

Juice LeeHip-hop artist Juice Lee is a breath of fresh air in a music genre whose commercial appeal has been stale for quite some time. The 27-year-old Ohio native isn’t the type of rapper who’ll tell you how much money he’s making, how big his guns are, or how many ladies he’s doing, but he will spit rhymes over an instrumental from anime or video game. “My music is the soundtrack to the montage that people have in their lives when they are training to advance their position in life,” he says. “Or the music for getting revenge on the man or organization that killed your parents/teacher/brother/sister/dog, etc.” All jokes aside, his interest in anime and manga figures prominently in his new CD, Epos, which is “loosely inspired” by Xam’d of the Lost Memory. Squee! caught up with him before Epos drops this summer to talk about his favorite characters, similarities between anime/manga and hip hop, and why live-action movies will always suck.

Squee!: So how/when did you get into anime and manga? What drew you to it?
Juice Lee: Back when I was about 6 or 7, I was introduced to it through my brother. He would go to the video store and rent the Robotech movies. I watched them in awe because I never had seen any type of animation with such rich storytelling. At that point, all I knew was Looney Tunes and The Disney Afternoon (which is funny because most anime creators credit their inspiration to Disney).

Squee!: What’s your all-time favorite anime?
Lee: Movie? Castle in the Sky but realistically damn near anything Studio Ghibli made because Miyazaki manages to make such amazing stories without resorting to gratuitous violence or sex or even profanity. It’s pure imagination. I’ll take that over the goriest series out right now.

Squee!: What’s your all-time favorite manga?
That’s hard to say because I haven’t read a ton of manga in the last few years, but for a while I was reading Claymore. It was one of the ballsiest manga to hit since Berserk. It took a lot of risks by actually killing important characters unexpectedly. So many times nowadays in manga and anime, the writers aren’t bold enough to kill off a popular character. Why? Because the magazine editors have control of what gets published, so even if the writer of the manga has an idea to logically kill a prominent or really popular character, if he/she can’t be brought back via some loophole, then the idea never comes to light. In other words, the manga creator no longer controls the fate of his/her story once it’s published in a magazine.

Squee!: I feel you on that. People went apesh*t when Kishimoto killed off Kakashi in Naruto Shippuden a few years ago. It’s probably why he had to bring him back to life a few chapters later, although I can’t say that with any certainty. So what are you reading and watching these days?
Lee: Honestly, I haven’t been up on the latest series. My friend keeps pestering me to watch the new Fullmetal Alchemist. The last two series I watched were Eden of the East and Xam’d of the Lost Memory. Very short series and straight to the point.

Squee!: Live-action Cowboy Bebop: thumbs up or thumbs down?
[sighs] Just like the proposed Robotech movie and that thing called Dragonball, anime SHOULD NEVER BE MADE INTO LIVE-ACTION MOVIES!! We’ve all seen our fair share of cosplay and it’s a stark reminder that most outfits that are drawn need to stay on paper. CGI? Well, if they put in the time to make it as pretty as Advent Children, then we can have an open dialogue [about live action].

Squee!: I agree but most of them are done in English, right? Isn’t that really what makes them especially awful? I’m thinking specifically of the Death Note movies here. To me, the difference between live action in English and live action in Japanese is so dramatic. I would say it’s better in Japanese. Which leads me to my next question: What’s your position on subs versus dubs?
Lee: I’m a fan of subs because 1) I get the show almost immediately after it airs in Japan; 2) the dialogue and pauses are better in Japanese because Japanese voice actors take their craft very seriously whereas English VAs just want the check (there’s going to be only the needed emotion when the character requires it); and 3) I think a lot of Japanese humor is lost in translation unless it’s an obvious gag.

Squee!: So who’s your favorite anime character?
I always respect the intelligent villains as well as tragic characters. For example, Orochimaru was a superb villain. He was a dude who simply couldn’t be beaten by anyone. (I hated that they never kept that moniker up in the second Naruto series). L in Death Note was another masterful guy. His unorthodox reasoning and thinking was great.

As far as tragic characters go, nobody tops Lucy from Elfen Lied. She may have been the ultimate gemini [laughs]. Lucy was pure evil, but Niu was innocence personified. All while your watching the series your wishing for Niu to completely takeover and everyone can be cool, but whenever Lucy showed up you were reminded of the grim nature of the story being told. Mayu (also from the series) was tragic because she was the sweetest girl you could ever imagine who had just had absolutely horrible things done to her. There were so many times in her backstory I was just mad at everyone around her, like, “What the hell did she ever do to anyone to deserve how she was treated?” Your heart has to go out to her.

Squee!: Do you see any similarities between hip hop and anime/manga?
Not really. Not until you start to be creative enough to make similarities artistically. On the business side? Yes, because once you’re dealing with corporations, your artistry becomes their business. So if you think of every song as a character in an anime/manga series, the audience will vote on a character poll to determine who is the best character. The same would be said for how Billboard or iTunes charts are now. So if you have this one character or song everyone likes then the company expects the manga writer to do more with the character, just like the label expects the artist to do more songs like the popular one. That’s where the corporate thinking and artistic thinking go their separate ways. The company/label wants to ride the hit until the wheels fall off while the artist just wants to be experimental and be free to do whatever.

Squee!: If you could pick any anime theme song to rhyme over, which one would it be?
That’s hard. I couldn’t say. But there are some anime soundtracks that I have sampled and flipped into songs. I did a song called “The Alien Chain” in which I sampled Kajiura Yuki’s “I Talk to the Rain” from Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle. And there’s a song called “Nah” where I sampled the piano theme from Innocent Venus. I’ve sampled a few video game tracks as well. For example, the title track sample on my last album, Metanoia, was from a song called “Ephemeral Dream,” from the Soul Calibur 3 soundtrack. I would love to one day do the opening theme for a new series and maybe have one of my ideas for a series come to life.

You can check out Juice Lee’s work at http://juibrand.squarespace.com/juipod/