katmic (Level 10)

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This is another one of those series that i only found my way back to after running out of what i would term as ‘good’ anime. By ‘good’ anime i am referring to the kind of anime that provides instant gratification, whereas Umineko falls into the category of anime such as Chaos head that i discarded after an episode of pure weirdness but swore to return to due to some quality and hence potential for awesomeness that i gleaned.
Of course Umineko is a little different from Chaos head because i was actually really into the mystery aspect in the first five episodes, until things went wrong and became a little too complex. I gave into impatience and as with alot anime i have been watching as of late, dropped it, swore to return to it and finally did. Umineko stands out because even shiki didn’t stand out to me the way this series did. I damped shiki after one episode. I thoroughly enjoyed this anime till the sixth episode.
so it was technically inevitable that i would return to it and i thoroughly expected to enjoy it once i finally got the courage to sit down and do what i usually prefer not to do, put serious brain power into what i am watching and try to solve the mystery.
Umineko did better than most anime that i shrugged off. I at least made it to episode 15 before giving in. This should have been a great mystery thriller, but things became strange after a while. I heard the visual novel it is based on was superb and this anime pales in comparison to the source material. I will never know.
THE PLOT:>
It has become a long standing tradition for the immensely wealthy Ushiromiya family to congregate at Rokkenjima island for a private family conference during which those that bear the name Ushiromiya discuss the social and economic status of the family and all business that relates to it.
On this particular conference, the family is congregating to deal with a weighty matter, the family’ head’s ill health and the touchy subject of inheritance, a topic that is bound to incite disquiet among the direct and indirect family.
However Kinzo Ushiromiya, the family head, is, unbeknownst to the family, struggling under a number of hefty matters, none of which includes the family’s wealth and its inheritance question.
Kinzo, having learnt from his dear friend and long time physician of his impending demise, seeks to reunite with his true love, the golden witch, Beatrice, before departing from this world.
Well versed in the matters of black magic, Kinzo sets about executing a ceremony that will revive the soul that he longs to reunite with before death. Not long after, the island is struck by a powerful storm that strands the family on the island for the weekend, both physically and in terms of access to communication.
What began as a commercially driven weekend to determine the sole heir of the family’s wealth is punctuated by the call of magic; the witch Beatrice has awakened, her soul cries out to the lost paradise from which she was cast and to which she wishes to return. Only the sacrifice of the unbelieving will quench her thirst, and nothing, not family, not friends, will stop Kinzo from seeing her beloved’s will done and finding her warm embrace one last time before he bids the world good bye.
What ensures is a furious contention of wills, between the supernatural and the natural, between belief and disbelief, the victor of which will claim their life.
MY REVIEW:>

Here is what first drew me to this anime, the intellectual manner in which the plot was unveiled. The murders were gruesome, ridiculously so, yet not shown in any detail that would put this in the PG16 area. So fairly tame with regards to violence. But that aside, the murders were gruesome, but strangely impossible. The mystery was set up so that whoever committed the murders had to have used supernatural means i.e. magic.
Maria, the irritating kid had seen Beatrice, she kept singing the witch’s lullaby. The family doctor had revealed his fears to the family with regards to Kinzo’s mental state and his indulgence in what he said was magic. Clearly there was no way he believed in some golden witch who would take him to some golden paradise. A ridiculous assumption as far as the doctor’s scientific sensibilities were concerned.
But we know the murders couldn’t have been committed by a human being, not with the locked door scenario created and the number of bodies involved. It had to have been Beatrice. Yet no one believes that such a person exist and thus choose to ignore her challenge and the monetary rewards she offers. But the family doctor admits that there was indeed a girl named Beatrice that Kinzo had an affair with, years ago, a real life flesh girl, not a witch.
So a person named Beatrice existed, so Kinzo could be confused. More importantly there is mention somewhere of a money lender named Beatrice with whom Kinzo did business. There might be some truth to the challenge and the reward of gold mentioned. But if there was indeed a young girl named Beatrice that Kinzo slept with, that sets up the possibility for another heir coming to claim the inheritance, an heir whose mother Kinzo loved dearly above their own mother(s) and whom he would quickly relinquish the inheritance to, choosing to mask his decisions behind farcical magical claims.
Then their is the challenge set by Beatrice. On Kinzo’s death, the hundreds of bars of gold she had lent to Kinzo to allow him to finance his business 20 years ago were to return to her along with the entire fortune he had amassed with her money. But if someone solved the mystery of the epitaph on her, Beatrice’s, portrait which hangs in the living room and finds the gold, they can keep it and the whole inheritance, which sets the question of who holds authority over the wealth, kinzo or this money lender who might or might not be Beatrice, or some unknown heir and so on.
And the existence of a portrait of Beatrice proves her existence, otherwise who is the young beautiful blonde woman in the picture and why did Kinzo choose to call her Beatrice if that was not her?
This is the madness that is the mystery that is set at the start of the series and i do not think i explained it right. In the center of it all is Battler, one of Kinzo’s red haired grand children, a pragmatist
with a sharp wit and strong will. It is his determination that starts and ends the story. HE will not believe in magic, even when it is sitting right in front of him. As far as he is concerned, even if Beatrice walked up to him, never mind the fact that no one is sure about who has seen or not seen her, there is a way to explain the magic element out of the picture. And that is where we the viewers sit, in between the magic and non magic believers, each making their case about an occurrence to convince the other that it was indeed magic or some man made event.
So the game under which the series unfold boils down to a battle of wits; Battler stands as the indomitable champion of intellect and even if he were to believe the existence of a a golden witch, he understands that it is the belief in magic and it’s existence among each of the 16 or so members of the family that fuels her power and slowly allows her to resurrect and act more freely within the physical world. He stands with his intellect as his only weapon, to break the mysteries set before him, while the storm rages on, intent on protecting his remaining family members from a culprit that might exist as a magical entity or an unknown 17th party on the island, or an angry heir, a servant with a grudge, a figment of his grand father’s imagination or a member of his own family, hiding and inconspicuously making a move for the gold.
There are so many ways in which this could have turned out to be a brilliant series. Sufficing to say, it shouldn’t be hard to see how and why i made it through the first five episodes, with a mystery that simply keeps on giving; every time you think you have figured it out, a new piece of information is discovered, warping your predetermined answers; the idea of magic and whether or not it exists is more often than not left up to you, based on the information displayed and the proof given. Every word said might hold a new clue if you pay enough attention. For instance, everyone at the start is so quick to ignore Maria, till they realize that she has been protecting her self from the rain using an Umbrella, a fact they had initially ignored until they realize that none of them, not even the 4-5 servants gave it to her, this making her claims of having received it from Beatrice that much more believable; especially when she hadn’t left her mother’s side since they arrived.
To reveal to you why this show fails would require revealing some spoilers. I believe that someone out there will be blown away by this story. I of course wasn’t. There was a point where everything seemed to repeat. Battler’s assertions began to sound rather silly when several events in each episode involving Beatrice
Up to now, i am not completely sure who/what these girls are
Up to now, i am not completely sure who/what these girls are
occurred (again i will not spoil them). There was a point in time where Battler sounded more stupid than intellectual, and the villain of the story was, at one point, trying way too hard to be liked and sympathized with.
The characters were admittedly interesting. No one was always what they seemed at the start, and watching each family member unfold and break as time wet on was…intriguing. For instance, Maria’s mother, she plays the part of soft, honest and piteous single parent; but the truth about her and her actions and attitude with regards to Maria are shocking in later episodes.
The darker seemingly greedy characters had the more interesting plots to follow. None of them really instigated the sorts of emotions you felt towards them at the start that allowed you to judge them so quickly. Sure it was always all about the money, about whose husband or wife was a direct blood relative and whose child deserved the bigger trust fund and all that, but there was always a deeper story beneath.
That much i enjoyed about the series. You know little to nothing about the characters when the story starts, and it is through tragedy that you come to learn who they are.
Animation: Okay, the story didn’t exactly require the most complex animation sequences. So 4/5;
The story: Judged on potential, i say 5/5; but judged on execution then 2/5, they messed the structure up.
The Music: I rarely mention music because it is rarely worth mentioning; in this case i loved the haunting and somewhat exaggerated musical scores, even though they were always placed in the wrong scenes and would evoke the completely wrong emotion, so 2/5.
Characters: the best thing about the story. the series had more than a dozen characters to play with, and each managed to have a modecum of distinction, in that they were meant to play the part of very complex characters in a puzzle; they turned out to be would-be complex characters that just didn’t go far enough. I would describe it like this, they were trying too hard to be complex that they were instead too simple, kind of like an actor trying too hard to be dramatic that they end up evoking the opposite emotion. None the less 3/5.Admittedly, i liked Beatrice’s character, as well as that other blue haired witch
Overall- 2/5;
Verdict: I would actually recommend this series, if you are looking to indulge in something different, that might challenge you mentally (though only at the start). The story had great potential, it was executed terribly, and it seemed to mix things up along the way. And at one point the mystery simply didn’t matter any more. There was a repetitiveness to it, but i think someone out there might actually enjoy it. It depends on your tastes. Sometime when an anime requires you to look at it closely, you end up looking too closely to ignore the faults. Someone else might be entertained by Battler and Beatrice’s crazy games of who is the smartest person in the room, which is what this series felt like after a while.
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I began reading this novel shortly after downloading The Name of the wind. I was not too keen on getting into it, not after the last book i had wasted my money buying; none the less i would read a few pages in between home and work and every other time that my computer and thus The name of the wind was out of reach. It wasn’t until after i completed The name of the wind and finally began giving it my full attention that i finally realized that, despite the hardships i had faced pushing through the first chapter, i had finally located a book series that i could burry my mind under for the months to come. As far as first novels go, The first tale in the Malazan book of the Fallen sets the bar really high, and as i reap through the pages of the second book, i suspect that Book1was largely set up, almost as if Erikson was telling us, “here, have 600 pages of information, absorb it and remember it, because in another 600 pages in book 2 where the story finally begins, you will need it.”

Note: This review is a little longer than i planned it to be

THE PLOT:>

I will try to keep this spoiler free…

The Malazan Empire is a fearsome machine of war, hell bent on conquest. It has been an age since Empress Laseen assassinated the former emperor (and friend) and took upon her self the full powers of Empress and gained complete control over the Malazan empire. But in the age that has followed, the Malazan empire has had to light one flame of war after another, each battle fought and won in the name of Empress Laseen’s seemingly infinite lust for blood. First came the purges, sometimes surreptitious in nature, sometimes ostensible, the Empress’ attempt to wipe out all that served under and still held onto their loyalty to the old emperor, a purge that included both foe and ally, parties that Laseen her self formerly fought besides in her service of the emperor.

Then came the conquest, with the Empress intent on bringing the entirety of the surrounding continents under the iron grip of the Malazan empire and thus completing Laseen’s quest of achieving total dominion of the known lands.

And now, as the last vestiges of rebellion die out within the empire, Laseen’s sets her eyes upon the ancient continent of Genabackis and its crowning jewel, the city of Darjhistan. With the city of wonder, the Empress intends to begin her campaign of conquest against the entire continent. But the task at hand has never been harder. For as much power as it has amassed, the Malazan empire does not exist alone and among the known lands exists a slew of natural and supernatural entities, some benevolent, some dark and some downright sinister. The world is large and not all that the empire sets its eyes upon will so easily step aside for Laseen’s will.

From Anomander Rake and his tiste Indii, the power that is Caladan Brood and the force that he leads, the many mysteries of the flying fortress Moons pawn and the rumors of the winged flame bound creatures that live within, the ancient will that is the T’lan Imas, the surreptitious herdsmen that are the Rhivi, all those that take upon the name Ascendant and the beings that serve them, an inundation of power, both natural and supernatural will walk the earth before Laseen achieves her objective, and nothing less than contending with the gods them selves will be enough to complete the world that will be the Malazan empire.

Yet despite the best of intentions, all these entities and parties are nothing but elephants, so caught up in their games to take note of the ants , that are the common man, that they will crash in an attempt to quench their individual lusts.

Whiskey jack has been commanding his unit of the bridge burners ever since the days of the old empire. As the most fearsome and effective Bridge burner crew, they served the old emperor with one heart and soul, loyal to his word and ideals. Now, with the old regime dead and a new one rising, whiskey jack is all too aware of what he and his people are, reminders of an old life, remnants of the old guard and whose loyalties Laseen will never truly trust. whiskey jack can read the times, understands what all the suspicious deaths and disappearances among the old guard mean. He knows that in accepting his mission to herald Laseen’s advent to Darujhistan as forerunners of the coming invasion, they stand at the edge of a knife; the empire that they once served and lost many to protect will use them to the end and then cast them aside. Now whiskey jack must ask himself how far he is willing to go for a nation that rejects him, how many times will he walk into missions he knows well to be death traps and which he was only assigned to achieve one objective, his and his crew’s exit from the world of the living.

With the fate of his men on the line, whiskey jack must decide which belief he holds closer to his heart, Laseen’s empty words or Dujek’s promise of a future for his good friend and all others like whiskey jack and Dujek who now find themselves fending of murderous intent for their past service to their emperor.

Tatter sail has always known that within the Malzan empire, gray was the moral color that ruled the day, and that behind every corner was a political scheme waiting to be unleashed, dishonorable deal being struck whose result will bring about the blood shed of many innocents. Tatter sail accepted all that the empire stood for with the knowledge that it served a greater purpose, to bringing unity under Laseen and, hence, peace. God knows she had committed atrocities under the same logic. But how well will she accept this logic when these same schemes and deals that she so easily accepted as a necessary evil are resulting in the deaths of Malaz blood. Men, women and boys that she as a mage and her legion swore to protect with their lives before treacherous intent befell them.

Is the empire really above reproach. Can the deaths of those that the empire claims to be committing atrocities for be justified by the so called greater good that will result? This is the question that tatter sail will have to answer before determining whether or not to accept whiskey jack’s hand of corporation. Is there really a distinction between treason against Empress Laseen and taking hostile action against her greatest mage Taychrenn? Is acting against all forces within the empire that would seek to destroy their own people really no different from renouncing the empire? Because whatever actions tatter sail chooses to take with regards to whiskey jack’s crew, there will be no turning back, no mercy, no future for those that apostate from the empress’ rule.

When Paran joined the Malazan army and accepted the consequence of having to shrug off his nobility and connection to house Paran, he purposed to do great things in the war machine of the empire, great deeds that would reflect well on the nobility that he left behind. When the massacre, the work of one' of shadow throne’s servants, that links his fate to Adjunct Lorne, Laseen’s second in command, strips him of all vestiges of his old life, hopes and dreams, he begins to question his role in the Malazan war machine and how much of his actions will bode well with the rest of the world. The question that lies before paran is a much simpler one than is faced by others whose lives have been upended by Laseen. In the grand scheme of things, will he, captain paran, be the hero of whom of whom songs are sung or the villain that brings death to innocence?

The city of Darujhistan and all who inhabit it are not so ignorant of the moving of the Malazan empire, not after the siege and ultimate chaos that ensued in Pale and the resulting contention between moon spawn and Taycherenn. The empire has began to move and Darujhsitan lies clear in its sights. Yet the chaotic politicking within the city continues, with many parties vying not only for power but the authority to decide the city’s actions; surrendering to the empire and joining Laseen- an action that opposition claims will not change their destruction- or raising up arms to defend their homes.

ON the roof tops, the nefarious assassins' guild continues it shadowy games. Once mighty, subject to all but none at the same time, the dangerous assassins and mages within find themselves embroiled in a mysterious game that brings them kicking and screaming into the world of murderous intent, backstabbing and power mongering, all the traits that they themselves once traded in and incited. A force has infiltrated their ranks and regularly, they will clash on the roof tops, dark against dark, in furious battles the winner of which will drive the will of the guild, which in turn will determine the fate of the ultimately powerless Politian's playing their little political games.

Below, the common man struggles to avoid falling prey to the dealings of those who deem themselves superior. A crew, friends, clocked in ordinary skins, yet so much more than average and emanating from a variety of naturally opposing forces, assassins, mages, master alchemists, seers, fallen nobility, even tools of the gods themselves, though still unknowing, come together to prevent the world in the shadows from spilling onto the streets and taking innocent life. They are citizen of Darujhistan and they will not stand for the empire’s presence and conquest of their city, no matter what the higher ups say.

Yet even they cannot deny an inescapable truth. Power attracts power and forces more ancient that the rock upon which the city stands are converging upon them, and there is no telling whether even a stone of the once brilliant city will be left standing once the dust settles and the Jaghut tyrant’s foot prints fade.

MY REVIEW:>

When i first finished reading this book a month or so ago, i found myself wondering exactly how i would describe it, preferably in one or two words. The first thing i thought about is how i felt when i was reading it. The word ‘anime’ kept echoing in my head as i traversed the different stories contained within the 600 pages. I am not sure what about the story elicited such thoughts from me, something about the story and the way it was structured seemed different from anything that i had ever read; the way the plot was paced, the characters described, the battles choreographed, it all seemed to incite memories of the sorts of inventive story telling that i had only seen in anime. It was both surprising and refreshing, and took me a while to get used to.

If i was to focus in on one or two words to describe what gardens of the moon is though, it would be ‘pure fantasy’. That is what this book is. Most novels attempt to bring to us a picture of the world we know; then, using conventional and sometimes unconventional norms and cultures, twist everything we think we understand to recreate the world into something similar to what we knew but with clear differences. Most times, probably in an attempt to enable the story to resonate with us, authors will present to us our own worlds but with one or two unnatural fringe elements.

Gardens of the moon creates an entirely new world. It is the kind of fantasy that casts our own world aside and, with masterful hands, molds a whole new one into being, with its own continental structures, clans, tribes, governmental systems, basically a whole new human and none human society. It’s….different from what i have read, or what i can remember reading. It is definitely no game of thrones, which is almost completely grounded in reality but with the most subtle hints of magic materializing in the fringes of the world. As a somewhat new reader with regards to this kind of fantasy, there were moments were i thought that the material might be overwhelming to some people.

Certainly many moments in the book tended to catch me off guard; one moment i am reading what seemed like a simple conversation between two people, then the next page would start to drop hints regarding both individuals’ appearances and suddenly my perspective would change. These were not human entities in conversation, yet they were a tribe of earthy origin so ordinary in the prevailing society that no one batted an eye that the gentleman crossing the road had six ears of something. Intriguing stuff, if you think about it; the fact that Erikson would go into so much trouble to research and create entire civilizations and cultures, each with its own histories and distinct pathos.

I would conclude that there is definitely a certain kind of person that this book is best suited for. Casual readers of the genre, new to fantasy might find this a bit hard to follow; pure fantasy is an avid description of what exactly a reader would be in for. I for one am enjoying myself.

The structure – Personally i thought Erikson took quite a risk in presenting this story the way he did, mostly because if he didn’t have the masterful ability to juggle so many elements simultaneously while keeping a cogent understanding of all the minutiae littering the story, we would have had one heck of a mess of a plot. Basically Erikson chooses to start telling the story from the middle. Right from page one, you are thrown head first into the deep end of the malazan world. No explanations are given, no hints of who is who and what is what. Military ranks and distinct magical attacks are just words, difficult to pronounce in some cases, with little to no meaning behind them; and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride best as you can.

Because rather than tell you straight up, in elongated lectures, about the world around, Erikson proffers you the opportunity to figure things out for yourself. Rather than reveal to you the world on a silver platter, Erikson gives you a mystery to solve. Every piece of information is revealed raw, in a conversation, monologue, maybe written down, and it is used as if you the reader were already familiar with it. That same piece of information will recur in multiple locations through out the story, strategically placed and used in different context, and as you it over and over again, you begin to work out the different variables and facets regarding it. Suddenly what seemed like an impossible mystery begins to open up using the clues littered through out the story. One moment, all you know about warrens is their usage as pathways, yet their is a lot talk regarding magic in relation to warrens.

Until you eavesdrop on two powerful mages speaking about elder warrens and ascendants and at the very least, you are now aware that there are different kinds of warrens with different properties; a journey through a warren reveals a little more about their usage as path ways, and then further journeys through different worlds and dimensions begin to open up the entire topic in ways you thought you understood but had only began to grasp.

The entire story is presented as one big mystery. Even the most mundane character has some part to play in the grand scheme of things; in one form or another, they will enter the story and impact it in a big way, probably turning it on its head. Which is why i speak of the approach as being risky. There were so many ways this story could have gone wrong; its cohesion hinged on Erikson’s ability to remember each and every fact and present it just at the right time, not too late to play its part in the story and not too early that we are inundated with too much information too quickly, most importantly using the right means and tools to show us these important pieces of information, without stalling the story.

It was a clever structure constructed by a creative and dedicated mind and it worked in revealing to us only what we needed to know when we needed to know it to keep us satiated. This is the primary reason i would deny the idea of actually getting bored at any one point in time when reading this novel. Sure, you might come across slow portions of the story, maybe a couple of 5-10 pages chronicling a short fat man walking alone up and hill and basically talking to himself; frustrating if the last chapter you had read had been choke full of exciting plot points. What keeps you hooked however is the fact that this scene and this man, they will all play an important role in the coming plot. You know, from experience that all those rumblings and that asinine character have an important part in the story and, if you are an engaged with the story as you should be, the process of trying to preempt the story and figure out who and what this man is before further events reveal it to you, how he fits into the story and what clue in his rumblings might have blown the entire mystery wide open surreptitiously, will stave off any boredom you might feel.

So i guess that is this story’s most powerful quality; it doesn’t engage you intimately in its plotting. It forces you to engage yourself intimately with the story, to follow each and every detail presented and try to piece the puzzle together. Of course the pitfall is it will not endear itself to those with no patience. The way the book works is that once you read something, it is imperative that you store that information, at least the important bits anyway; because later on, that information will be referred to and explored further and the only way you can keep up is if you can compare what you already know and stored with what has been revealed. Understanding who Anomander Rake is early in the book, before his true self is revealed, can come down to simply considering all that had been said about the warrens and those that had used them prior and comparing that with what was revealed about the warren Rake’s own magic draws upon.

This, in a way, can be a criticism, or rather another reason for the term’ pure fantasy’ and why some might not be able to keep up with this book. if you are the kind that reads a story with little to no focus, then you will arrive at page 200 still wondering what the hell the bridge burners are and how they differ from the claws. Again, this goes back to the book’s ability to force you to engage with it. I am willing to admit that there are still things about Gardens of the moon that i am yet to understand. Up till now i thought i knew what warrens were, until i read further and realized that i only knew a portion, or rather how they work and even then only the basics. There has been no clear and outright description of what a warren is, frankly i am still not able to picture its entire structure in my head, and i can only assume that dead house gates will elucidate on the matter.

Hell, there was a point in time where i couldn’t differentiate between the Tiste Indii and the T’lan Imass. I remember that there was some mention of the undead and a lot of difficult terms and words were thrown out; in the end it came down to me to figure out who was what (there is an index at the end which helped). And Don’t even get me started on the soletaken business. This book has a myriad of mysteries that i will enjoy revealing and stripping away one at a time along with the heroes and villains of the Malazan world.

THE STORY:> It was a brave undertaking, approaching the story the way Erikson did, when faced with the herculean task of dispensing so much information without overloading readers. When i reviewed The name of the wind, one of my praises for it was the unique way it managed to provide us with so much information about the world around the characters, allowing us to form a clear picture of the realm without stalling the story. it was a clever way of using story telling and songs to provide the reader with a clear picture of the world. Now Gardens of the moon didn’t do as good a job as The name of the wind, no where near as good in my view; but it was impressive that they could unload all that information while telling a cohesive story.

With such a load of data to unleash, most stories will go the direct route, simply take up chunks of pages lecturing you about the world, which can have a detrimental effect to the story because for all intent and purpose, the book stops. Erikson was smart enough to provide as much information as possible through the events of the story. Now there were some potions i did not appreciate, places in the book which took too long to provide a specific bit of information or seemed overly complicated just to reveal one or two facts, but they are worth forgiving because, in creating a whole new world, it couldn’t have been easy to figure out a clever way of allaying all the information that i as a reader would need before i could begin to appreciate the world.

The book does one specific task so much better than George R.R Martin’s Game of thrones, and that is its approach to the different characters roaming the book. Like Thrones, Gardens of the moon follows multiple characters on their separate journeys, undertaking different adventures in efforts that will eventually intertwine. But the thing about Gardens is how fast the story moves. The characters are constantly on the move, their state continuously changing and their actions always having a bearing the overall result. No character is ever on screen without having a specific purpose to fulfill in the story.

And that is the one thing i criticize Game of Thrones (the fire and ice series in general) about; a lot of time wasting occurs. Thrones will describe to you a character’s journey from the middle of a jungle through a dessert to a distant monetary a week away, in graphic detail i might add. Gardens will simply tell you in two or three lines that the same character crossed the desert. If anything of worth happened on the journey, it is either mentioned in passing, or a clue is provided that will allow you to deduce the information.

Gardens has a ton of characters but unlike Thrones, their is rarely any down time because of how fast paced the story is. Which means that even when you jump from one exciting character to a duller one, you do not stay with that character long enough to start cursing the author. That was Throne’s problem. Sure it had some great characters to read, but it also had some atrocious ones. I have heard a lot of praise for the Khaleesi character from fans of the game of thrones TV series. if those fans had read the first book, they would know why i hate her character so deeply; George would have the gall to end Arya’s more intruding character chapter in four or five pages, then launch into a 25 page chapter of the Khaleesi and her people doing absolutely nothing.

Ooh i loathed her. It felt like a total waste of time; but that is an extreme case. Sometimes it was simply the fact that you would rather read about Robb than Stannis, yet it would be Stannis that you would get for dozens of pages. With gardens of the moon, it doesn't really matter who you prefer to read or which character has the more exciting plot. Even when the change occurs to a duller setting, the book will only falter in that setting for the two or three pages necessary to get the point across. Erikson doesn’t subject you to characters and plots you have no interest and reading for an entire chapter, and that is what makes this book so awesome.

I remember cursing the first time we left the bridge burner story, which had just heated up (something to do with shadow throne’s hounds, i won’t spoil it) only to suddenly skip to Darujhistan for the first time ever, and worse still, to a seemingly dull and completely uninteresting character. With thrones, you were in for 20 or so pages of yawning. Gardens however doesn’t waste that time. I remember that i originally estimated that their were one hundred pages in each game of thrones book that didn’t need to be there. Then a literature scholar i found on the internet who had actually done the math, corrected me and said that it was closer to 250. George R.R Martin’s detractors complain about how slow he writes. Maybe the problem is that he writes more than is necessary.

Comparisons aside, the story is incisive and on point; there is never a dull moment that isn’t necessary; the characters are intriguing and each has a part to play in the whole, a role that is usually never clear until you move further into the book, whose intent lies in keeping you hooked till you can figure the story out, and that it does well. There is as much action as their is tragedy and heart warming heroism.

Rating – From the perspective of a fan, i would rate this story with a 5/5. When i look at it critically though, it is closer to a 3/5.There were parts of the story that were awkwardly handled, especially with the final villain(s) and one or two of the final confrontations. There execution was spot on, but it felt like the organization and some of the descriptions were…off. It could have been better.

THE CHARACTERS – are handled better than the story. Each is as much an enigma as the story itself. You only know as much as the author will allow you to. basically you are a first person observer. You are the character rather than a third person, floating about, seeing and knowing all while the characters fumble around. There is nothing that Erikson will tell you which the characters do not know, which is why i mentioned above that you learn and explore each mystery along with the characters. When they know, you know, and if they are confused, you are confused. Erikson keeps and approaches each character as a separate entity; each character has his own beliefs and objectives different and sometime conflicting with those of another, even when working as a team. Even in a group setting, more often than not, each and every character, while operating as part of the primary plot, is also constantly slipping away to carry out one or two independent tasks. A primary task will draw these characters together, but it doesn’t hold them to each other. They move dynamically with the multiple story lines that are occurring around each other, each somewhat impacting on the next.

Rating: 5/5 my favorite is whiskey jack, Anomander Rake and crockus; and that is another thing; there are so many of them whose true faces and names we still don’t know. it is a mystery that allows them to operate under an air of intrigue, and it can be great fun to try and work out who a character is based on how those around them react on hearing their true names (which Erikson never reveals to us though).

Magic: The magic is a large part of why this book is so epic. Many novels have come out to claim the title of epic saga; most rarely deliver and even when they do, it’s always over a shorter period of time that you would expect. Gardens of the moon delivers on a largely epic scale and over dozens of pages (another reason why i kept thinking of anime). The magic itself if very complicated and like everything else mysterious, tied to the different warrens and the age they hail from.

The gods: Intriguing in that we still know very little about them. Actually there are two characters whom i can’t tell if they are gods or not. None the less i like the part they play, not simply strolling onto the plane and causing havoc, yet still playing an important but subtle and sometimes earth shattering role in the events of the word.

Criticisms; Yes, i have some problems with this book, not major, nothing that affects the whole, but which i couldn’t ignore. But because they involve spoilers, i will try to be as vague as possible. Chances are if you read the book, you will get what i am referring to.

First of all, i had problems with Captain Paran. He was gearing up to be one of my favorite characters at the start, but he quickly lost his relevance after a while. That doesn’t bother me though, Erikson knows who wants to take the spot light. What i do not get is Paran in relation to tatter sail. This relationship was developed in a very shallow manner; i say that because paran comes to some decisions in the desert because of actions taken by tatter sail, actions that do not make sense.

As far as i am concerned, he was a little too angry for someone he had known for what felt like mere days. I get the attraction, but the way he acted, it seemed unrealistic and unnatural, the way someone would act with someone close to them. And that isn’t what those to were, or if they were, i didn’t see it in the pages.. More importantly, he came off as stupid, with the ridiculous assumptions he made about what had happened to tatter sail and who had done what. Seriously, the man had spent two years with the Adjunct; am i supposed to believe that he was still so ignorant about magic and how the T’lan imass worked. His sentiments were illogical and driven by a very stupid assumption. Even Toc the younger saw something he, a captain couldn’t see.

Second, tatter sail, somehow managed to confuse me even more than Paran; what the hell was that in the desert? As far as i am concerned, Erikson wanted the story to go to a specific place and he chose to use the most illogical means possible to get the outcome he wanted. Admittedly i am still learning about magic and the malazan world, but those actions she took in the desert seem a little too extreme.

There is no way anyone is going to tell that, for a mage as powerful and experienced as her, that action was the only way out she had. it is ridiculous. She cannot be that incompetent. Erikson didn’t do a good job of convincing me that what she did was necessary. And yes, that irritated for a while when reading the book, because her actions weren’t an singular event with ephemeral consequences. She was backing out into a story that would affect the whole, and that wasn’t the way to do it. The consequences were no where near as dire as she made them out to be to justify taking her actions.

Both characters were made to look a little too incompetent for my taste.

Verdict: This is a great book, but i expect that you will have a HARD TIME beginning it. Erikson doesn’t make things easy, and the first 20 pages were extremely difficult to read. Once you pick up speed, the road smoothens, but before, i suspect that many a non fantasy fan might fail to get off the ground. And even later on, there are some pages, or chapters that simply struggle; the words are a little too complicated, especially new terms (some old) that refer to a world that you do not even know. It will not allow you to first understand the world and get your bearings before hurtling ahead into new territory at every turn.

Every time you pick up speed due to the excitement of the story, you hit a road block and stop or slow down to ensure that you read something right. it is none the less commendable work, that i would recommend to any fantasy or even a general reading fan. This is the kind of reading to challenge one’s wits and patience and introduce them to a totally new form of literature. And if you can weather it, you will be in for a wild world of excitement, intrigue and chaos.

OVERALL RATING: 3.5/5. I can safely say that this is one series i am going to see through to the end.

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I went looking for this topic on Google because i found myself suddenly and randomly curious about the matter before going to bed yesterday; i was surprised that with every straw hat related topic that compared and contrasted the straw hats with each other, the purpose was to determine who was the strongest, or who would kill who in a battle.

So i thought i would tackle this topic myself. So, first i should first explain what i mean. When i say ‘best’ i am not referring to the strongest straw hat. In a way i am speaking about current stature, which includes how strong they are but in relation to the difficulty it took to get there. Each of the straw hats has a different story to tell about their past and backgrounds and each of them has a purpose he or she serves on the ship, but only because of what they went through in their past and the journeys they took to gain the skills that would make them a worthy crew mate on the thousand sunny.

Maybe there is a different, possibly better way to describe ‘best’ but i cannot think of it right now. Maybe the character as a whole matters, but i keep coming back to what they had to go through to get to where they are and how much they overcame. I will give a BLEACH example. Both Ichigo and Chado can take on an arrancar right now and win. But while Ichigo would win in a heart beat, it is Chado’s win that would be the more impressive victory, because we all know that if Ichigo had met an arrancar during the Soul society arc, he probably would have beaten it.

So the straw hats are Ussop, Nami, Zoro, Chopper, Sanji, Robin,Franky, Brook and Luffy. I will ignore Luffy mostly because it will create complications in comparing him to zoro. This is my ranking:

1. Ussop - I was going to go with Nami but i gave it a little bit more thought and realized that Ussop deserved the title most as best straw hat. We know that when we first saw ussop, he was basically useless. Besides lying and less than impressive shooting abilities, Ussop originally didn’t look like he served much of

a purpose to Luffy besides being funny. But we saw him blossom on the adventures he undertook with Luffy and, starting with basically no usable skill, molded himself into a pirate worthy of the name straw hat. Ussop’s most significant feature is the fact that, especially in early one piece, he would walk into danger, usually after convincing himself to run away but somehow choosing the more honorable route, with no conceivable way of achieving victory, no devil fruit, no special strength or speed or really anything beyond his intelligence. Whether he won isn’t even really the point (he lost quite a lot), beca

use every single drop of blood he shed would give Luffy a little more time to wrap things up on his end without interference. I still remember the Alabasta arc, that moment in the anime when Ussop took a baseball bat to the forehead while moving at incredible speed, and this skull cracked. I was shocked, held my breath for several seconds and waited for him to die. But he stood up again. He had no business rising up. Luffy would have eventually returned to save him, and even the villain he was up against didn’t really affect Luffy’s chances of completing his mission. But he stood up none the less.

You could almost say that Ussop is a mystery, sometimes you don’t really know why he does what he does. I still think he is stupid, but the fact that he would fight Luffy to save the ship, well it irritated me because it was just a ship, but it showed heart in Ussop. At the present he stands proud as a very capable straw hat, and the funniest man in one piece besides buggy. So yes, best straw hat.

2. Zoro - i say zoro here at number 2 because of his strength. I have mentioned this before, that the reason Zoro stands out is the fact that he is so powerful without a devil fruit. He stands up their with the very best of them, be it pirate or marine, with nothing more than his three swords. The fact that Zoro Vs. luffy debates are still raging up to this point is a testament to his skill. His will to stand up in a world full of super human beings and face danger each and every day with little more than his swords and skills is admirable, and while he hasn’t had the hardest rise to the top, he deserves the number two spot as second best straw hat.

3. Number three is a bit tough. I was tempted to go with Nami, considering all she went through with Arlong and the lengths to which she was forced to go to keep her village safe in operating as Arlong’s agent. Sure it was traumatic but i do not know if it really changed her, not in a way that is tangible at the present. More importantly, it was through Luffy’s will and effort that she finally escaped her old life, not her own strength and effort, so i am not sure if i can call it a triumph for her, more like luck that Luffy happened to pass by.

Nico Robin on the other hand thrived in the face of danger. She faced great hardships as a child, traversing great difficulties in confronting the ugly side of humanity. For all intent and purpose she should have crumbled and disappeared into non existence; yet she fought the fate that had been thrown at her, through sheer will she survived in the harsh world, doing whatever she could to keep herself safe until that day that she met Luffy and made the choice to join his crew. It almost feels like she invited her self. As far as great straw hats are concerned she stands far above Nami. She is the kind of character they wouldn’t get anywhere without, especially not in the dangerous and uncharted territories of the new world.

Franky is, well, Franky. There is not much to say about him. Same thing with Brook. So if i was to look at this critically, i would say that the third best straw hat would be Robin. If i was to allow bias to affect me, i would give the position to Chopper because, well, it is chopper. Who doesn’t like the little rain deer thing?

Like i said, i do not want to consider Luffy because that would immediately pit him against Zoro, which never gets anywhere. What i will say though is that if i was to put him in the ranking, what i would say for sure is that i would still stick with Ussop as the best straw hat.

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I wouldn’t say that there is a certain type of anime and manga that i am interested in. I would rather claim to like anything that is good. However there is indeed anime that i do not like, that turns me off. While i cannot neologize it with a particular description, there are traits of that type of anime that will show up in another works that will irritate me and leave a bad taste in my mouth with regards to my viewing pleasure. If the anime is good enough and the story compelling enough, i can ignore such material, such as with Madoka magica, which i was initially put off by, because of how whiny Madoka was for a large part of the story, but the plot was intriguing enough to hold my attention. With Okami Kakushi, the story wasn’t intriguing enough to keep glued to the screen. And i will not say that it is a shame because even the potential for something good is absent.

THE PLOT:>

Hiroshi Kuzumi , 16 years old, has just moved to the quite and serene village of Jogamachi, nestled deep in the mountains and mostly isolated from the city. With an eccentric father and a wheel chair bound sister, Hiroshi expects to enjoy a mostly quite, eventful life of obscurity in the small village, which as it turns out, is split by a river into the old and new Jogamachi. The first clue that Hiroshi receives that life might not be as quite as he might have expected are the deep routed rituals and traditions from ancient times that the village still participates in at present.

Secondly, Hiroshi, never the popular type, is confounded by the great level of attention that is showered upon him, not least by the blonde haired Isuzu who declares her love for him and shows hostility to those that attempt to divert his attention away from her on the very first day. Only nemuru, the quite class president seems uninterested in the suddenly popular student.

And when she takes it upon her self to one day warn him to steer clear of the old part of the village, he cannot truly fathom what awaits him once he chooses to ignore her and cross the threshold.

MY REVIEW:>

I have a problem with whiny characters; i am talking about those characters that spend a large part of an anime, well, whining and crying. i hate going into a series expecting a good anime only to find myself watching an animated telenova. Okami felt a bit like that. I started watching Shiki even after dumping it months earlier because of how good Another was. I was convicted to give the thrilling material another try.

I attempted Okami kakushi, after dumping it last year, because of how good Shiki was. I figured that i now had the patience to with stand what ever insufferable elements had alienated me from the series last year to find the intriguing and psychological thriller than i expected this to be. I was wrong. I didn’t finish this anime. I staggered through the first five episodes, then skipped to episode 9, and quickly gave up after that. Mind you, after the first episode i couldn’t find the courage to continue so i ordered myself to watch one episode of this anime a day till i was done with it, or till it finally hooked me. That is what i did with Shiki and by episode 3 i was hooked. With Okami i couldn’t make it past episode five, and i was fast forwarding.

The story, about so called god men and how they are tempted by a scent from normal human beings which turns them into the so called fallen, wild fiends that attack and absorb the souls of the innocent and how Hiroshi produces 100,000 times more of this scent that normal godmen, might sound good to some, but i rolled my eyes when i heard it, then willed myself to give it a fair try, before seeing how it played out and realized how dumb it was.

Even Nemuru’s portion of the plot seemed forced and clichéd, especially the parts about how sad she was at being forced to carry out her duties; mind you when you first see nemuru in her ferocious disguise, you can eventually tell that its her, long before they make the assumedly shocking revelation.

This story was supposed to be horror, it was supposed to keep me at the edge of my seat, biting my nails as my stomach clenches in anxiety over the fate of the characters in the story. It wasn’t scary; there was no tension, no intense psychological twist and turns. At no point was i on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next; rather i kept trying to figure out how far forward i could skip and still maintain a solid understanding of the series.

Hiroshi as the hero was stupid. I figured things out before he did, and he was privy to knowledge that i wasn't. Mysteries that were obvious to everyone he struggled to work out; even making basic observations seemed beyond his capabilities. All he did was fulfill his duties as a cliché hero, standing in the middle of two pathetic (not in the good sad way) forces, being undecided about every simple situation and relating to every side, unwilling to see simple good and evil,. another factor by the way that they tried to present as some complex philosophical debate. It wasn’t.

The heroines, if they were that, were trying really hard to make you feel sorry for them. I wasn’t falling for it. And the more they whined, the more irritated i got.

RATING:> 2/5; not so badly animated; unfortunately i will not say that the story had the potential to be good because it didn’t.

Verdict – i believe someone out their might find this series a worth while pass time, but i doubt anyone will be blown away or intrigued half as much as you are supposed to be. I will not say ‘don’t bother’, because a certain kind of otaku might enjoy this series. So try it and see.

Okami Kakushi is a 12 episode adaption of a visual novel written by Touko Machida and directed by Nobuhiro Takamoto.

The title is a play on the words Okami, which means wolf, and kamikakushi, which means spirited away.

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I don’t know what i just read but i am not sure if this is even fairy tail. You know, i have mentioned this before, that Hiro is really good at doing this kind of thing, creating epic set ups, really making you think that what you just witnessed is epicness in the making. Some times its just one chapter, other times he will stretch it out over several chapters, each building upon the other one; and when it finally gets to driving the nail all the way in, he cops out, or rather the tidal wave that Hiro had built and which i as a fan had been riding higher and higher suddenly falls flat, and what is left isn’t disappointment. That is what you get when you are mostly mildly interested in the developing story.
When the wave finally falls and Hiro disappoints after hyping the present plot to infinite levels, that excitement turns into seething anger. And this chapter, if this is another of Hiro’s games, i am not sure if fairy tail will recover if Hiro does what i think he is going to do. I don’t know if he even knows what he has just done. I am going to will Hiro with every cell in my brain to consider carefully what he does next after this chapter.
THE PLOT:>
Last time we saw Erza, she had succumbed to the effects of her fight with Minerva, with her legs eventually giving out as she contended with one of the many dragon creatures on the loose. Barely
able to fend for herself,she had to watch helplessly as Jellal came to the rescue. Milliana had arrived at the scene in time to see the man who had killed her brother and held them all prisoner for years amicably conversing with Erza.
In this chapter we wrap this scene up. Miliiana is furious and clearly ready to unleash her vengeance against the pair, when Ultear interrupts her angry rant and makes it
clear that it was her, not Jellal, who was responsible for the misery the friends had suffered. She had manipulated jellal into building the tower and enslaving his own friends in her attempts to aid Hades and she asks that Milliana aims her hate towards her, after all she had just learnt that despite all the good she had tried to do, she was still as stained and corrupted as before.
Here, especially with the dark visage she wears, it is alluded to that she had killed Rogue. This notion is however quickly dismissed and she later on admits to her self that she had frozen. She couldn’t kill Rogue; none the less she is tormented by the fact that she had harbored the thought of killing an innocent man and admits once more that she is still a dark person.
Elsewhere, gray, juvia, Leon and Meredy are engaging the small dragon creatures in battle. Gray pauses to tell Juvia something. He dismisses its importance but none the less alludes that it must be said. juvia gets so caught up in her fantasies about what gray was about to confess to her that she doesn’t see the mini dragon fire off an attack at her.
Gray pushes her out of the way and takes the attack to the chest, which rips a hole through. He barely recovers when two or three more mini dragons join the the fight and unleash a barrage of attacks that systematically perforate gray’s body.
Gray hits the floor with a stunned ‘Eh!’ on his lips, Leon, Meredy and Juvia watching in horror…
MY REVIEW:>
This chapter…whoa…
I am not even sure what to say.
I was slightly disappointed by what was done with the Milliana situation. Don’t get me wrong, i thought Hiro handled it better than i thought he would. I expected Erza to make some asinine speech about love and nakama and Milliana would quickly fold. But she didn’t fall for Erza’s words, that she had forgiven Jellal and that it wasn’t his fault. It was a good idea to use Ultear to redirect her anger. She seemed more confused than anything by the end and i do not think she has forgiven anyone yet, least of all Jellal, but i suspect she will not hold it against Erza for siding with Jellal.
My disappointment comes from Kagura. I expected her to play more of a role in the argument. But she just folded and let the issue drop. Truth be told i do not even remember why she hates Jellal, but i thought she was much tougher and more vindictive than that. Hiro is missing opportunities to manifest greatness here.
With Ultear, i am ambivalent about her actions. Again it do not think that the path she took was illogical or unreasonable; after spending seven years with Jellal, and i would have been surprised if she had actually killed rogue. But i kind of hoped for more than what i saw in the chapter. But it allows for more depth in the fairy tail story, that she is still conflicted about her past and present and the difficulty that an individual is faced with in ridding themselves of past habits.
Additionally, besides my disappointment with the chapter that set up the Erza, Milliana, jellal situation, i was impressed that hiro remembered to add reason and logic to the story, that even the mighty Erza couldn’t shrug off the effects of an outrageous battle in time to fight little dragons.
But all that aside, Gray, is he really dead? I am one of those people that was advocating for more darkness in the plot, even some death to show the seriousness of the event, but even i didn’t see this coming. It stunned me. As has been the case with recent fairy tail chapters, i had no idea what to expect with this chapter because Hiro is usually all over the place. But I basically thought i was ready for anything, but this was so out of the blue and so sudden.
I am not sure how to take it. On the one hand, i can’t believe Hiro actually killed an important character off, and in such a brutal manner. As far as the story goes, fairy tail just jumped up to another level. On the other hand, as a fairy tail fan, ‘Why Gray?’ is what i can’t help but ask. In such a large cast of fairy tail characters and mages, there are so many characters Hiro could have chosen to kill off, starting from Lucy, maybe Levy, or Cana, but why Gray of all people? He was one of those consistently written characters that i just liked.
I cannot believe what happened in this chapter. The pure fairy tail fan part of me is ecstatic and shocked. The other more analytical part of me is afraid. Hiro is going to mess this up, and i am not speculating. I am sure of it. For one thing, i know that Gray isn’t dead. This is Hiro after all. Any fairy tail fan will agree with me that gray obviously used an ice clone to tank the attacks; though one has to wonder why making an ice clone would be faster than Juvia simply getting out of the way. And isn’t her body made of water? Would she have even been hurt?
I do not think Gray is dead. Hiro is clever in executing this stunt and getting our anxiety levels through the roof for a week, before finally revealing the truth. Hiro cannot kill any of his favorite fairy tail characters off, which is all of them. I am praying that he can think of a way to return Gray that isn’t debilitating to fairy tail’s reputation.
Then again, Hiro is supposed to have twitted this message after the release of this chapter :( Originally Posted by Hiro Mashima -Please wait until next week. You will be surprised.) I do not know how to take that. Maybe he is speaking to those that do not want gray dead.
Oh and there was an awesome rogue and sting moment that made me dislike them less. next few chapters it looks like they will be teaming up to take down both of their dragons.
RATING: 5/5 – WOW, that is all i can say, wow… i am reading this chapter again just to be sure i wasn’t imagining things.
GILDARTZ
Here is what i know about gildartz from watching fairy tail and reading the manga. His full name is Gildartz Clive and he is also the oldest member of fairy tail besides Makarov. We know little to nothing about Gidartz’s past but then again it probably doesn’t matter. We know that some time during his life, he met and seduced one Cornelia, eventually, and unbeknownst to him, giving birth to Cana, another member of fairy tail. Cana would spend a large portion of her life trying to figure out how to tell Gildartz the truth, that he was her father; but she could never get the courage, mostly because whenever she would see him, as a child of 5 or 6, she could feel the air or importance around him, the power he radiated and the respect he received from everyone and she would shrink into none existence, defeated by her own self esteem and lacking; basically the way she saw it was that how could the daughter of the great and mighty Gildartz be so weak.
And as the years came and went, each passing with Gildartz returning to the guild once every year, receiving the praise of a champion, Cana would watch him come through the doors, intent on finally revealing the truth to him, only for her words to fail her as he would wave his hand through her head, maybe give her a hug, and move on, leaving her defeated. From then on she decided that one day she would reveal the truth to him, but only after finally passing the test and becoming an S class mage like him. But of course she failed terribly, taking and failing the S-class test 6 or 7 times where the likes of Erza and Mirajane, younger, passed immediately. Eventually she fell into drunkenness and seized to matter.
Cana aside, we learn over time just who Gildartz is. He might be the second most powerful person in the guild, but you wouldn’t know it as he is so laid back and unmotivated, willing to spend most of his time boozing and seducing the ladies rather than getting any work done. As a mage of fairy tail, Gildartz uses crash magic; a form of magic that basically decimates everything that he comes into contact with, hence the term crush.
Gildartz’s magic is so powerful that every time he comes back to Magnolia, the entire town has to be rearranged to create a single straight path from the border to the guild and that is because over the years his return has resulted in a serious amount of damage. This isn’t merely because Gildartz isn’t fully in control of his power but because of the way he uses it. Most times, when he is done with anything, rather than using the door, he will walk into the nearest wall and through it, a habit that he does unconsciously and which the town is willing to accommodate because of the love and respect they have for him.
With crash magic, Gildartz not only crushes anything he touches but he can also choose to simply break it down into smaller versions of the original, such as when he fought natsu and broke him into
a few thousand mini natsus. While Gildartz rarely fights in the presence of the other guild members, whom he lets eliminate the enemy, when he does fight, he will have everything and everyone clear the area; because, according to happy, natsu’s cat, Gildartz always fights at full power, or close to it and he simply doesn’t know how to hold back. Which is why Gildartz’s fighting style is mostly martial arts based. He will use hand to hand combat skills to beat an opponent and only use crush magic when he physically touches the opponent, focusing the power through his touch and that way, the effects of crush magic are minimal. Even then though, his touch is designed to absolutely destroy everything it touches, hence not even in sparring where Gildartz is forced to keep the level of battle at a low intensity is his opponent, enemy or friend safe. However once he has to fight an opponent he must defeat, and determines that his crush magic must be unleashed fully, the destruction is wide spread as he doesn’t limit it to his fists, necessitating all other by standers to clear the area before he can fight.
Gildartz’s crush magic has, as of the last time he fought, proved that it isn’t limited to physical objects and that he can crush and decimate magic as well.
The type and destructive nature of his crash magic explains the reason why Gildartz will rarely engage in battle if he can help it. AS a fairy tail guild member, Gildartz will fight to protect his guild members against any and all foes, and in most cases choosing to use lethal means where others might incapacitate. Not long ago, Gildartz met and fought the mighty black dragon Achnologia. This would be the first and only opponent to defeat him; and his first defeat would be his worst. Gildartz lost his left leg, left arm and an organ to Achnologia and even then he barely escaped. On his initial appearance, he was making use of a wooden replacement. Recently he acquired metallic prosthetics.
Gildartz, as the strongest mage, was recently offered the job of master of fairy tail by a retired Makarov. After being shown the great secret, Lumen Histoire, the so called darkness (or light, depending on who you ask) of fairy tail, he declined the job, instead nominated Makarov to return to his position as he went on another great quest.
Gildartz is mentioned several times along with Laxus and mystogun as the strongest mage in fairy tail, most notably during mystogun and laxus’ first fight. He finally appears during the Edolas arc, but after being sucked away to the parallel dimension like everyone else, only plays a part in the story during the S-class arc, when he is assigned the position of one of the obstacles and judges for the test. It is during his fight with Natsu that he unleashes power and for the first time teaches the young mage the true meaning of fear. He later arrives on the scene when Grimoire heart’s strongest mage, Blue note stinger, arrives and decimates the entire fairy tail team. Gildartz must then match his crush magic against the man’s debilitating gravity powers.
MY REVIEW:
I love this character. Sure he isn’t the most complicated character, but he is…i don’t know the word to use…fun. Not in that typical fairy tail ‘always laughing and smiling’ way; i like the laid back way he is presented and i do not think we really need to know that much about his character to make him any more interesting to watch. For one thing, as the most powerful character on screen, you can expect some fireworks whenever he is on the filed.
It is a shame that Hiro limits his time in battle. I wish we would see more of him and his crush magic, because the little we have seen has been epic, especially his first appearance and his revelation
about the black dragon Achnologia. His fight with blue note stinger ranks high up there are one of my all time favorite fairy tail battles. It was a chance to see him let loose, and the event was only accentuated by the fact that blue note was so overwhelmingly powerful that with his abilities he was rocking the entire island. The effect of Gildartz’s power is usually such that you not as much interested in how he will defeat his opponent as much as how his opponent will survive Gildartz and with blue note it was fun to watch them shattering everything around them and lifting and juggling entire land masses in an attempt to one up each other.
Now that i think about it, Hiro has never provided a reasonable explanation for his absence, especially in the time of danger. He is always suspiciously absent and i hate that. We have seen copious amounts of Erza and laxus fights, characters we once looked upon as mysterious and unknown and Hiro has given us ample time to fully explore there abilities. With Gildartz, we are still in the dark about just how well he fights.
I still think that Hiro has handled his character well, especially with the Cana arc, not only exploring her character’s dark past but using it to reveal more of who Gildartz is on a mental and emotional level. This was one of those moments i was surprised at how dark the normally light and fluffy fairy tail got; i never really thought about Cana before; she was always irrelevant and her drinking habit seemed more of a comedic tool than anything; i was surprised that hiro would allow the issue to take a dark turn. This includes Gildartz own physical disabilities. Fairy tail isn’t the kind of show you would expect to have limb dismemberment, especially when even the most brutally attacked characters just seem to die away from a bruise or two.
Gildartz is just…interesting to watch. He adds a sense of excitement to every scene and i will admit to hating hearing him compare himself to Natsu, the way laxus did as well in the tournament. What is up with all these strong characters and looking up to weak Natsu.
I just remembered that at the time he met Achnologia, Gildartz was off undertaking a one hundred year quest, the same quest he undertakes once more when he rejects mastership of the guild. Hiro has yet to tell us what a one hundred year quest is. Clearly it can’t take one hundred years; Gildartz returned in a mere three years.
Anyway, if i was to rate Gildartz as a character on grounds of how interesting he is, i would rate him with an A out of an A-E rating.
Now i have to admit it, i have never understood or shared the notion that Gildartz was copied off of shanks from one piece. Sure they have similar red hair and their faces sort of look alike but here is the thing; this is manga. Besides one or two shows based off of a manhwa, most of these characters are are drawn using simple straight or curving lines; if you took away special markers, maybe the giant weapons they carry, eccentric clothing and what not, many anime characters would look the same.
I reject the idea that Hiro was inspired by Shanks in drawing Gildartz. I feel the need to say that because i have come across a number of comments with regards to how similar fairy tail is to one piece. I would not mind those comments if they actually elaborated on exactly how fairy tail is similar to one piece. All they do is mention how similar Gildartz is to shanks. Basically because of that one reason, fairy tail is a cheap copy of one piece.
That is not a good enough reason to compare one manga to another. I have looked and maybe i am biased; i admit that in some shots of Natsu smiling, he has reminded me of luffy (though only because of how many time i hear it) but one element of an manga doesn’t make it a copy of another. Gildartz and Shanks’ similarity is a coincidence, and unless someone else can point out any other similarity, i am inclined to conclude that many of these people either simply hate fairy tail and are intent on putting it down or they simply haven’t read it and have chosen to jump on board of the opinions of others.
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