Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anime and Manga Review: Part 2

First off, I would like to tell you that I probably will no longer be updating my blog on a weekly basis. I have entered school for the year, and either I will start getting lots of work or I will be distracted, probably both. So I think it’s best if I just warn you that I will probably be updating the blog every two weeks as opposed to every week.

So now, I decided to make part two of my anime and manga review.

Anime

Code Geass:
One of my favorite anime series, ever. A fairly new show, it started in 2006 and ended in 2008, after being split into two 26 episode seasons. The story is about a fellow called Lelouch Lamperouge, who takes care of his blind and crippled sister Nunnally. They live in Japan, or as the ruling power over Japan calls it, Area 11. The world is shaped by three power blocs, the Holy Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the Euro Universe. Britannia is slowly taking over the world and Japan is one of their newest acquisitions. After a fateful encounter with a childhood friend named Suzaku, Lelouch faces a near-death situation, until a mysterious woman named C.C. (pronounced C2) gives him the power of “Geass”, which lets him give people an absolute command, which they must obey. As Lelouch is revealed to hold a grudge toward Britannia, and is actually a Britannian prince, the story follows his struggle to take over Britannia for his sister and for the sake of a better world. This show combines mecha action with school comedy and dramatic elements. Overall, I very much enjoyed it, and apparently many people did too, since it has garnered several awards. The mecha action was good and unique, while not being overpowered, although the second season brings the mechas more from real robot to super robot territory. There are many interesting characters, most notable of them Lelouch and Suzaku, and especially their rivalry and clash of ideals. Other fan favorites include C.C. and Jeremiah Gottwald. The comedy episodes at their school are also fun and give a break from all the tension of fighting and drama. There is also some fanservice, just to let you know. I would give this series a well deserved 9.5 out of 10. I recommend this show to everyone, since it has a bit of everything. It also is compared a lot to Death Note and other such shows.

Gurren Lagann: A show coming from 2007, it is also a newer title but also one that is immensely popular, and one of the latest super robot shows available. It starts with Simon and Kamina, two friends from the same underground village. When a giant robot ends up inside their village, a young woman named Yoko barges in and rescues them. Then, Simon beats the robot using a tiny mech he found underground. It turns out that there are many underground villages, like the one Yoko comes from. From there, the three of them assemble a ragtag group of allies to explore the surface and figure out the truth about their situation, all the while fending off giant robot attacks called Gunmen using their own robot they stole, renaming it Gurren. When Simon’s small mech, called Lagann, fuses with the Gurren, they form the Gurren Lagann. Eventually stuff happens, with big explosions and awesome fast paced mecha fights. The story is not too heavy on the drama, and is mostly about courage and strength. The fights are basically won through who has the most determination to win. I liked this show a lot, and it kept me fairly entertained. There is a bit of fanservice in this show, mostly from Yoko, but it gets toned down as time goes on. It’s also fairly short, only being 27 episodes. I would recommend this show to anyone who likes watching giant robots beat the crap out each other and who like watching really cool things happen. Two words: GALAXY SHURIKENS. I give this show a 9 out of 10.

Manga

Beelzebub: This is a new title, with only 26 chapters out, yet it seems like a good manga to start reading and catch up on on a weekly basis. It starts with Tatsumi Oga, who is a delinquent at his high school and good friends with Furuichi Takayuki, although Oga usually treats Furuichi a bit rough. One day, however, Oga meets a woman named Hildegard, who prefers to be called Hilda, and carrying a child, Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV (known as Baby BL for short). She entrusts Baby BL to Oga because Baby BL is actually the son of the Devil King and needs a human to fully develop his demon powers. Soon, the school’s four strongest people try to take Oga down one by one, while he worries about Baby BL and the pact he now has with him developing. It sounds like a very actiony series, but it’s actually full of comedy. The fights don’t last long, although as of recent events it’s heading into more action territory. Right now though, it is more of an action-comedy manga. I got into it a while ago after seeing some recommendations for a new and original manga, and so far I enjoy reading it weeky. For people who like humorous stories and some action thrown in, Beelzebub is right for you, especially with all of Oga’s and Baby BL’s antics. A solid 8 out of 10.

Onani Master Kurosawa:
This is a story about a lonely middle schooler named Kurosawa. He has a specific ritual he does every day at school, until the day he’s almost caught… In his third year, events occur that force him to make choices that change both his thoughts on people but also his outlook on life. At first, when I heard about this manga, I was like, “what”? It turns out, onani means “masturbation”. At first, a title like that might be off-putting. However, I heard some great things about the story, and so I ventured into it. As it turns out, it’s a surprisingly good story. At first, he goes and does his activity, but then a girl named Kitihara finds his secret and uses him to “punish” those who bully her, like one of the school bullies named Sugawa. As Kurosawa finds himself becoming a tool for revenge, he all of a sudden starts to get closer to Takigawa Magistel, a beautiful girl who makes him slowly but surely change subtley his life. And then disaster strikes. Telling you anymore would be spoilers! Seriously, this is an unexpectedly good story. Many people have said it’s a parody of Death Note that later develops into a compelling story. At only 31 chapters, it’s not a great time consumer. Even though the title sounds weird, it is still a very good story that you should at least consider reading it. I give this an 8.

There we have it folks! Tune in next time for some more goodness from my brain!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Magic and Me

And now for something completely different.

I’m going to take a break from all the theology and seriousness for today and tell you guys about one of my new hobbies, Magic. Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game that has a long established history and is probably the biggest one today. However, I am a newbie to the history, so I won’t be retelling it here. Instead I’ll tell you a bit about MY history with the game.

How did I get into Magic? Good question. It all started with my friends from school. Two of my friends were playing a card game called Magic. I’ve heard about it but never got into it. However, I knew how fun card games can be, since I was an avid Yu-Gi-Oh! player. Anyway, I continued observing them play. Soon, a third friend got into it (or rejoined the fray), and pretty soon I was intrigued more and more. I didn’t want to get into it yet, since I know I tend to go overboard with these things, but I decided to keep an open mind. All I remember is that they had fun playing and making references about it. This all happened in freshman yea, if I’m not mistaken. At the end of freshman year, a fourth friend got into it, and soon I began wondering if I should join them.

Sophomore year rolled around and as I saw my four friends playing Magic, it made me want to play even more. One day I decided to play a game with two of my friends, using a deck loaned from a third. Apparently, the deck I used was a hard one to master, and I ended up making several fatal mistakes. But the funny part was that I actually won. Why? Because both of my friends made a silly mistake at the end, which lead to my victory by default. However, I had no idea what I did at all during the game, so I decided to practice more on different occasions, as well as read up on the rules a bit.

Around Christmas, I had a small grasp on the game, and decided, why not? I looked for what I thought was the best cards. Because of the way I thought the game functioned, I was lead to believe that life gaining was fairly important. I had noticed that the game makes you start with 20 life, but with so many spells that can either chip away at it, or the sheer number of monsters that can attack you, that I felt padding my life total would lead to successful victories. I bought an Eventide deck, Life Drain, and a Guildpact one, called Code of the Orzhov, as well as a Reya Dawnbringer. I bought those two decks because first, I wanted cards that gave me life, and second, because I was fascinated with black and white, and especially hybrid black/white cards. My goal was to make a angel/demon deck, but since most angels are expensive mana-wise, and the demons had detrimental effects, I decided that it would not be a good idea for a beginner. I also ended up buying two Tenth Edition decks, the white one with a Cho Manno (or Bro Manno, as we refer to him in these here parts) and the black one with
Ascendant Evincar. However, out of all the cards I got (and trust me, getting four decks was going a bit overboard for a beginner), the one I fell in love with was this one: Divinity of Pride. Bar none, this is my favorite card in all of Magic. Out of the four decks I bought, I made my very first deck, a life gain deck. This is my baby, and still my strongest one, striking fear into the hearts of my friends whenever I play them.

At first, it was a bit rocky. My deck was good, and it won a fair amount of games, but the problem was it was just too slow. Many of my cards are mana intensive and my mana sources were less than adequate. I kept tweaking it until it now works reasonably well and quick enough to withstand several deck types, and occasionally pulling some quick wins itself. Out of all my decks, it is still my best one, and also my favorite. I decided to then make a discard deck, since I liked that effect for some reason. This is the first deck I made from scratch, and dropped quite a bit of money on it. It now no longer exists, but part of it is now one half of another deck I have. The discard deck was good, but not as good as my life gain, and it was also too slow to be effective.

My third deck is another black one, with a focus on reanimation. I only had Dread Return as my reanimation card, but it worked quite well. This deck was not as fast as I would have liked, but still fast enough to pull off the Dread Return/Spirit of the Night. It also had a lot of removal. This deck was really fun to play with. This is also the time when I started noticing my shift towards more black, but I still liked playing with white. For some reason, blue’s counterspells annoyed me, as did green’s creature army and red’s burn spells. So I kept to white and black. This is also the time when I started trying to collect the spirit avatars from Shadowmoor/Eventide. Even now, I am missing only two. Well, you know how Divinity is my favorite card, but Demigod of Revenge comes close. Such a ridiculously good card.

My fourth deck was a deck I made for pity, since I felt bad for red, blue, and green, and I have three of the spirit avatars that, because of their color combination, were completely unusable to me otherwise- the Deus of Calamity, the Overbeing of Myth, and the Dominus of Fealty. The deck was kind of bad, but still pretty fun to play with. I also started noticing that I had way too many cards.

I currently have about 10 decks, mostly since I also bought the Divine vs Demonic duel decks and have a big collection of cards. The demon deck in particular is probably my second best deck, and also my fastest. I got lucky I managed to get four Demigods, which make this deck oh so deliciously fun to use. The presence of Demonic Tutor is pretty nifty as well. I also have a colored artifact deck with is pretty fun to use, although I would like it to win more often.

Well, as you can see my story comes to an end right now. I am now a pretty decent player, and can pretty much hold my own against my friends and then some. And for those of you whom I will play against, watch out because the life gain deck is getting a bit of an upgrade. Watch for it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Characteristics of God

Before I begin, if you have any comments/suggestions/corrections on my prior entry to this blog, then by all means, tell me! It’s always good to expand on ideas to make them better.

Also, I apologize for my lateness, something came up that required my attention.

Now, let us continue, shall we?

I think I want to expand on my idea from last week by explaining how exactly this model can work in explaining not only Jesus’ dual nature, but also His characteristics. Let’s start with God nature.

Characteristics of God (Christian):
omniscience (all-knowledge), omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present), omnibenevolence (all-loving), incorporeal (having no physical body), atemporal (timeless), perfection, and eternal/necessary existence. For the sake of this argument, I can only use the attributes that are physical in nature, seeing as how science is a study of physical things, and as such is not useful in studying things like omnibenevolence, for instance. The attributes I will talk about are omnipresence, atemporal, and being incorporeal.

Omnipresence


How would I explain this? Omnipresence is the all-present attribute of God. But how can God be present in all places at all time? Well, physically, you can consider God to be a particle, a quantized God if you will. If God is a particle, then He can then be described by a “wave function”. The boundaries for this particular wave function, however, is the boundaries for the known universe. In essence, the probability of finding the “quantized God” inside the boundary of the universe is 100%. He will always be inside the universe. This by itself does not show His omnipresence. But what if I were to say that since God is infinite, He cannot be confined to a “quantized” shape? In that case, God would be a “quanta” of infinite size. Which would make Him be in all places in all times in the known universe. Never mind the philosophical/theological implications for now; I may revisit them on a later date.

Atemporal

Atemporalness is the attribute of God to remain outside of time. How can God feel no time? Well, it makes sense, seeing as how if He created the universe, He also needed to create time, and thus, needed to be outside of time. But how? If God were to be in a state of being which He moved at light speed, then He can be in zero time. At the speed of light, time stops. In God’s case, He would feel no time, and thus would be eternal.

Incorporeal


Incorporeal is the attribute of not having a physical body. This seems a bit easier than the others. You can’t “touch” light, can you? And yet, light has the power to cause change. In the same way, God also cannot be “touched”. God has no material body (other than Jesus), so He is therefore incorporeal.

As I said before in a comment, many, if not most, of Christianity cannot be explained via scientific analogy. However, if there is a possible connection, I will try to make it. Again, sorry for the tardiness.

And again, if there is anything wrong with the doctrine or science aspect of this, tell me so I can correct my mistake!