AMV of the Day: Toradora! Rough Love (Grow A Pear)

So, finally back from a near week of anime and manga festivities at this year’s Anime Boston. One of the things I’ve enjoyed while attending these anime conventions have been the creative AMV’s which come out during the the event’s AMV contests. This year the crop of AMVs which won the different categories were very unique and inventive. One such AMV which seem to think outside the box was in the Best Romance category. This AMV combined the Ke$ha song, “Grow A Pear”, with the romantic comedy anime series Toradora! with an end result that was quite funny and charming.

The video took the give-and-take and very hostile early relationship between the two main characters in the series, Taiga and Ryuji. The song matches up pretty well with these early scenes of tsudere hostility from Taiga towards Ryuji but it does finally build-up towards the inevitable admittance from both characters of their true feelings for each other. This video had won the Best Romance category and could easily have won the Best Comedy category as well, but with the quality of romance AMVs being quite lacking during this year’s Anime Boston it wasn’t a surprise that this particular AMV won.

Song: Grow A Pear – Ke$ha

Anime: Toradora!

Creator: l33tmeatwad

Review: Game of Thrones Ep. 02 “The Kingsroad”

With Arleigh being away in Boston this weekend, I’ve agreed to attempt to review the second episode of Game Of Thrones, The Kingsroad.  I say attempt because, unlike Arleigh and a lot of our regular readers, I am totally and completely unfamiliar with the books that this show is based on. 

In other words, up until last week, I was a virgin, at least as far as Game of Thrones was concerned.  And while I’m happy to say that losing my Game of Thrones virginity was actually a lot more enjoyable than losing my actual virginity,  it still left me, in many ways, just as confused.  Who are all these people? I wondered as I watched the 1st episode.  Other thoughts that I can remember off the top of my head: Awww…cute little wolves!  Wait, is he the king?  My red hair is prettier than hers.  What the Hell’s going on?  Hey, it’s that guy!  Huh?  Peter Dinklage for the win!  What?  Huh?  Oh shit, that kid’s going to leave a mess when he lands! 

Unlike those of you who have read the books, I came into Game of Thrones with absolutely no tools to help me keep everything straight.  But yet, through a combination of surprisingly sincere performances, intriguing plot twists, and hot guys acting like men, the show held my interest to enough of an extent that I decided to come this week and get confused all over again.

So, what about this latest episode?  Well, looking at it from the point of view of someone who is still learning this show’s language, I think The Kingsroad was the perfect follow-up.  After the somewhat frantic pilot episode, Kingsroad slowed the story down a bit and instead devoted most of its time to allowing us to get to know the characters and filling in a lot of backstory.  If the first episode concentrated on making the character watchable, this episode concentrates on making the characters into human beings with all the individual quirks, flaws, and strengths that go along with being human.  The pilot told us why we should watch.  This episode gave us some clues as to why we should care.

After seeing tonight’s episode, there’s still a lot that I don’t understand but I understand enough to know that Joffrey’s a little punk and Tyrion — Tyrion just flat out rocks.  (Though, and this is how much of freaking newbie I really am, I originally called him Tyrone throughout this entire review.)

Below are ten other somewhat random thoughts inspired by watching the second episode of Games of Thrones.

1) If I came away with anything from tonight’s episode, it’s that I really need to get myself one of those dire wolves.  Over the course of this latest episode, I saw one wolf rip open an assassin’s throat while another one attacked that hateful little brat Joffrey.  I mean, I love my cat but the only person he’s willing to attack is me.  As long as he gets fed, he doesn’t care if I live or die.

2) But then there was that heart breaking moment when Nedd had to kill Sansa’s dire wolf.  I have to admit that I was cringing when I first saw Nedd holding that blade and that I kinda breathed a sigh of relief when I realize that they weren’t actually going to show it happen.  But then that pathetic yelp erupted on the soundtrack and it just left me heartbroken.

3) Which is why I can now say that I will probably never dislike another character as intensely as I now dislike Joffrey.  In retrospect, the most satisfying part of this episode was watching Tyrion slap Joffrey around at the beginning.

4) And speaking of Tyrion, Peter Dinklage kicks so much serious ass that I don’t even know where to start in praising his performance.  His big scene here (outside of slapping around Joffrey) was when he explained to Jon that, if he was a peasant, he would have been left in the forest to die.  He delivered the line with the perfect combination of cynicism, weariness, and dark humor.  It’s too early to say for sure but I may have found someone to fill the Josh Halloway-shaped void in my heart that was created when Lost ended.

5) I have to say that Sansa, with her refusal to stand-up for her younger sister and her reference to the wounded Joffrey as her “poor prince,” is not doing her fellow redheads proud.  Of course, I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that she’s kind of overshadowed by her far cooler baby sister. I guess that has to be difficult to deal with.  Next chance I get, I’ll ask my older sisters about it to find out for sure. 🙂

6) The majority of this episode’s actual “plot” centered around Bran who was last seen getting kicked out of a very high window.  Shockingly enough, he’s still alive but he spends most of the show in a coma.  To be honest, there was only one false moment for me in this episode and it came when Catelyn found that hair at the “scene of the crime.”  I mean, what’s she going to do with it?  Call in David Caruso and have him take it back to Miami to be analyzed?  Still, I enjoyed the look on the faces of both Cersei and Jaime when they heard that Bran was alive.

7) One thing that I am greatly enjoying about this show is the way that the personal and the political mix throughout the story.  For all the plotting and talk of strategy, most of the show’s past and future conflict appears to be largely the result of wounded pride, jealousy, insecurity, and miscommunication.  Just like in real life and that, I think, is why this show will survive and why I will continue to watch it even if I am never 100% sure just what exactly is really going on.

8 ) I’m actually enjoying the fact that Game of Thrones takes a bit of effort to follow.  It was actually a pretty wise choice on the show’s producers’ part to just jump right into the action.  It makes the show feel real and relatable.  It allows even those of us who haven’t read the books to enjoy it.

9) So, did all you guys out there enjoy watching Daenerys learning how to pleasure her scary giant of a husband?  It’s okay if you did because I did and I’m a card-carrying Ms. 45 feminist.  Fact of the matter is that, once you get through all of the  usual “quality television” arguments, the main appeal of HBO is that its quality television with frequent frontal nudity.  (That’s why me and Erin used to secretly watch Oz when we were younger.)  And Daenerys’ demand that Drogo at least look at her face while using her — well, who couldn’t relate to that?

10) Finally, I have to mention that this show has got to have one of the best opening credit sequences ever!  Seriously,  that majestic yet ominous music  playing over images of a civilization being created, it’s a wonderful combination and definitely one that I hope to see for many more weeks to come.