A Debt Paid

Always in my writing and in watching anime I love finding ‘villains’ that are more than just one note. It goes from watching sports anime where I feel bad if the rival team loses to those characters who I really don’t want to see die. Those are the stories that I love to read and watch.

If you are planning on watching akame ga kill– this will not be spoiler free.
You have been warned.

Also in my writing I want to make sure my antagonists are moving and changing. You never want a static character. It is tempting to have them be bad just to be bad. The antagonists need powerful motivation just like your protagonists. In using Bols from akame ga kill as my example on how to give your characters agency.

Background

In Akame Ga Kill there are basically two forces opposing each other:  Night Raid and the Jaegers. They are both tools in the bigger pictures of the rebellion against the capital. We are viewing Night Raid as those who are trying to free the people from a corrupt government and the Jaegers are those who are fighting for the government.

Bols is a part of the Jaegers.

Humanize your antagonist

Bols father

In the anime so far we are introduced to many antagonists and there is a brief history of Liver but nothing as in depth as what we get from the introduction of the Jaegers. What this anime does well is that Bols, who can look scary, is humanized.

First we find out that he is actually shy. Aww. Also he is a good cook. Then we find out that he has a wife and daughter. Who come into bring him lunch. It is a sweet moment. So we start to wonder if we are supposed to hate the guy. When he is giving these small human traits it helps us sympathize with him. We start to care about this strange man in a mask that has this adorable family.

Give your antagonist a backstory

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Sometimes when we write it is easy to spend days writing out the backstory for our protag. Give your antagonist just as much time. Giving your characters a backstory helps in giving them motivation.

In the anime they don’t take forever to explain Bols backstory (Nothing ruins a story like too much exposition!). They give just enough hints about where he came from. We learn that he was part of the incendiary squad that burned down villages. We learn that he had to ask his wife out multiples times. We learn that he can cook. These are just small hints that help the watcher form this strange character in their minds and connect with him.

Because even as we learn that he burned people alive, it is in his tone and stature that we see his regret. This deepens Bols so much. We start to wonder… “Why is he part of the Jaegers? Doesn’t he want to pay his debts in a different way?

You want the reader/view to ask these questions about your characters. That is what makes them interesting. If you keep the readers wanting to know more then they will keep reading.

Give your antagonist motivation that makes sense in their story

Bols eating

The most powerful development in any good character. Motivation.

Again if your antagonists are just being bad to be bad or if they are just soooooo evil, it turns into a snore fest.

The reader and viewer need to believe that your antagonist has legitimate reasons for their choices.

In Bols case he is part of the Jaegers for a couple reasons. One is is protecting his wife and child and two he believes that if he follows these orders and helps his teammates he is getting some retribution for his past deeds. He also knows that he will pay for his crimes of killing others someday but with his wife and child he hopes it isn’t too soon.

So we have motivation for our character. We can then understand why he does what he does even if we don’t agree with it. This in itself is powerful. I think most can understand that as a husband and father that is very powerful motivation for Bols.

Make the death (if they die) bittersweet

Bols Dying

When or if your antagonist dies you want the reader to care. Its seems strange but if you have humanized and given your character motivation, there is a large chance that the reader/viewer will feel sad at their passing.

I think Bols death was one of the saddest that I have seen in a long time. Before this moment there were other ‘good guys’ who died and yeah it was sad but it didn’t have the heart wrenching feeling the same as Bols death.

In his final moments he shows that he understands why he was killed. He knew that he deserved this death in some way. But he starts to crawl home and reaches for his wife and daughter. He wants to see them one more time before he goes.

The build up of Bols is what makes this moment so bittersweet. We know that he is working for the wrong side but inside we want him to see his wife and child. It saddens the viewer that he doesn’t get his final wish.

 

So if you are writing out your characters don’t ignore how powerful it can be to have an antagonist that we can care for… even if it’s just a little. It will let the reader/viewer have that moment where we question why we care about them. It lets us see that even if they are evil, they are still human. In that way we can see their struggle. We can see our own struggle and how maybe if life was different we could have ended up in the same situation as them.

That is an antagonist that we can get behind and maybe in some small way we hope that they get redemption.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed my writing lesson and thank you all for your kind words and your support in a darker time these last few months. You all really are Me Reasons Why.

Happy Watching!

 

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The Blog Post where I thought I was okay but I wasn’t

I’m unsure of how to start this post.
Only a few weeks ago I was ready to come back and be active again in this wonderful community.
I guess you can never predict what will happen in your life. Things that come out of nowhere and then your brain decides that it is done. That was the breaking point. You can’t function.

The last two years I have been under attack. My mental health was like at tiny little plant that was trying to grow in hail storms, tornadoes, and floods. It was a struggle but I survived. It still grew even though bruised and beaten.

I made it through my roof replacement. Broken lights. Floor replacements. A broken stove. Then flooding in my basement. Leaks in my house every time it rained. Finding out the roofer didn’t do a good job. More floods.
Now a sinking front porch.
These were all stresses on me mentally and financially. I really can’t afford to fix any of these things, but I saved and struggled and now with my porch I don’t know what to do really.

The small plant inside of me was still alive though. Asking others for help is probably the most embarrassing and humiliating thing for me to do. I know we all need help sometimes but for the last two years I feel like I have been such a taker. I set up a GoFundMe and now in my mind I just want to delete it. I hate that I made one. I hate myself. I am still ashamed.

All these house things they were tough. I had my writing and my community and things would be okay.

Then I got back a critique.

I know as a writer you need to be able to handle critique. I actually love it. There is nothing better than making my book the best it can be and seeing it improve. Getting the comments back and finding new ways to connect the story. It is so amazing. I get more and more confidence with each edit.

I suffer a lot of self doubt since I am terrible at self editing my own work. TERRIBLE. One of the reasons I hand write my first draft is that I can turn off my grammar brain and just create. However, I can spot mistakes in others work but I cannot for the life of me catch the mistakes in my own.

It has always been embarrassing. I teach. I should know how to see that I have a run on. Also why do I mess up sent and scent and where and were? I know the difference but it is like my fingers have a will of their own. Ha. I find the mistakes sometimes. Other times I read it like I think it is in my head.

In the critique I got back she really reamed me for my grammar. She called me amateurish. That this was the worse grammar she has ever seen in the history of the contest. That I would never be able to publish if I don’t know the basic tools. Also that she was supposed to be encouraging but she would be doing me a disservice.

Ouch.

It is funny because I do know the basic rules. Commas are still the enemy. There are trickier things that I do forget and I have to refresh myself on before I teach them. I mean, I don’t really have the MLA guidelines memorized… However, I can see a run on in something else but why not my own writing?

So this critique really hit the heart of my self doubt as a writer. Yes, things like grammar should come more naturally to me, but when I’ve tried to make my writing perfect I don’t write. I never finish.

I know this very post is full of errors that I will not see. It is like all my writing is in my voice and I can’t undo that to make it grammatically correct. It is a conversation and I’m talking to you.

I don’t know.

I do know that I’m not okay.

I haven’t written for two weeks and I’m scared.

Between the financial struggle with my house and my self doubt… I can feel it. The claws sinking in telling me to just lay down in bed. Not to do anything because why bother. That there is no way I can ever get out of this hole so why try.

I’m not okay. The small plant is dying. I don’t know what to do. Part of this is that I cut myself away from this community. That is what you do when things get bad, most of you will understand. I didn’t need a break from you all. I needed to be more involved, but you start to isolate yourself and that is how it works.

I’m holding my reasons close to me this week. I just don’t want it to win.

Kimchi and the SCIENCE behind picking an anime!!!

So how about that spring season? Well, it turns out I ended up dropping quit a few anime. I’m glad to be back just as summer starts and I wanted to talk about my super scientific way of selecting which anime I watch…

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Well that was a short post.

Ha! Oh I promise I’m not that shallow…

Step 1: It all starts with the picture and a summary

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The truth of the matter is that we will always judge a book by its cover. As I scroll through crunchyroll, hulu, VRV, and Amazon Prime the first thing that will catch my interest is the picture.

As I saw Phantom in the Twilight I didn’t really stop but I took a closer look. “Oh there are three hot guys…” (Okay I am just shallow the end) That made me pause. Would this be something like Libra of Nil Admirari where yeah the guys where good looking but there is not plot? So the picture does draw me in then I read the summary.

Hmmm inhuman shadows, fear, guardians, London, and whoa… a cafe? (who can say no to a cafe? *snort)

So at this point I’m intrigued. This one has made the queue.

Automatic pictures that I will pass and not even read the summary… One guy surrounded by boobs. I’m sorry it is just not my thing…

Step 2:  Is this something I heard of before?

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When it comes to anime we all have to admit that there are a lot of stories that are the same. Things that will happen in almost every show, but it sometimes is how those stories are told is what makes them fun.

For Cells at Work it is something I added to my queue right away. I don’t really like science (so great title Kimchi) but this is something that seemed to be pretty unique and I was always a fan of when the magic school bus went inside the body.

I mean now that I’m learning science and stuff I feel pretty smart…

Step 3: Title

Sometimes there are titles where I don’t even know what they mean, but if it has a fun title sometimes I won’t even read the summary but I will just add it to my list right away.

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This was mentioned on a blog post (I believe Plyasm correct me if I’m wrong) and I was so excited to watch it!

Then I thought oh this is another yaoi? Okay. Still watching since I don’t turn down BL ha.

I was waiting and waiting for it on crunchy and it never came. Then the Gods of Amazon showed it to me (It is really hard to find new anime on Amazon. It is like they hide it on purpose or something). I was so excited!

I was not expecting this.

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Oh this goes beyond your basic BL anime everyone. So far I love it. The plot is interesting, they reference J. D. Salinger which is super cool how they got the name.

I am looking forward to these characters so much and they have shown me complexities already that I’m super excited about. Good on you title for being awesome and I hope you all check it out. This is going to be your grittier anime that deals with tough themes. I will probably need to get the manga after watching.

I’m also excited that they are doing 24 episode apparently. My husband was not excited when I screamed, “NOOOOOO!” at the end of episode two because I didn’t want to wait another week for the next episode.

I am going to say this right now. This may be my top pick for Summer.

Step four: Genre

There are some genres that I will always add to my queue right away.

Comedy, Physiological Thriller, Romance, and Abs (totally a genre)

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I love watching a darker anime. I can’t watch a lot of them at once so they need to be broken up with other types of anime. They are usually my favorite and it probably is the fault of Psycho Pass and Death Note.

So Angels of Death really fit the bill and My Sugar Life. I’m waiting to see how they both turn out. So far My Sugar Life is kicking Angels is the darkness battle. Eek.

In the end they are always auto adds but a lot of the time I don’t end up finishing them if the plot sucks.

Step five: You

I have gotten word of so many anime from you all that I would have missed otherwise (So my science isn’t perfect? dang). I love seeing your reviews and then reading them from those I trust. Sometimes I just want to watch a garbage anime with you all and then I get to enjoy your rage posts haha!

In the end if I passed over something because it had a bad summary or a stupid picture. I can always count on you to get me to the good stuff ;).

Story wins over all

So even if the anime made is past my super scientific method of picking it… If it doesn’t have a good story… Well…

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In the end my methods will fail over and over again, but I’m glad you all are here to be along for the ride.

Happy Watching!

I’m alive!

As always time and time again you all have showed me your awesome support as I’ve moved a bit slower through this summer. Dropping the ball with my blog.

Thank you for always being so understanding with me since I haven’t been able to comment for a long time and I’m still going to be a bit slow.

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I got cleared from my eye doctor so I can wear my contacts again! I can see! haha I finally gave in and got glasses for a back up since I don’t want to be in that situation again where I have to be four inches away from my computer screen to type and read. That was really fun…

My car is kind of fixed! Still needs a bumper but it is running and I have wheels! All my bruises are gone!

I’ve missed you all so much!!!

A few things to look forward to in the next month.

More otome games (men comparisons across games)!

More webtoon addictions!

More anime rambles!

Also a lovely book review!

I’m excited about the blog posts coming up and trying to catch up to all of yours! I’m still a bit slow since I have a book deadline for my beta readers at the end of this month! Book Two rough draft is done and I’m editing like a mad women! Although I think it will go faster now that I can see… haha. My husband was making fun of all my typos town/towel same difference right?

Also I re-watched Love Stage… Because that was important to me for some reason lol.

As always happy watching! I will enjoy catching up with all of you!

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I’m a sucker for a nerd

So I am continuing my journey in the world of webtoons and finding that it is sucking more and more of my time away. I got to the point where now it had to be a reward for after I do my work… Well drat… haha

So in my world where I am trying to be a responsible adult another webtoon that I would like to share with you really touching on everything that I like to see in a story.

Abs.

Okay entry done.

Ha! Okay I’m not that shallow… *cough*

There are many different characters and there is a great showing of diversity in this webtoon. The best part of it being diverse is that what makes the characters diverse doesn’t just make the character. Okay I’ll try to explain.

So in a lot of writers trying to make their work be more diverse with different genders, races, sexualities, and disabilities. They make that item like the most important thing about the character.

For example: In my book I’m writing now I have a character who is bisexual. I actually don’t even say that she is bisexual in the first book or even the second since she just IS bisexual it isn’t the main thing that defines her and I shouldn’t have to make that always the most important thing about her. She has other attributes not just her sexuality.

Am making more sense? Sometimes I feel like I would be better at saying things verbally so I don’t offend people haha.

So back to Let’s Play the creator is doing a wonderful job with diversity without having to slap it in our faces. It is natural and it is real.

I love the extra ways that she personified the main characters social anxiety also.

I always love it when artists put a face to something that we may have to struggle with in our daily lives. The emotocons are the best.

So honestly if you are already done reading “I Love Yoo” check out this webtoon and you won’t be disapointed. Great character, always relatatble, and so much nerd content that it will make your inner nerd child swoon.

Also there is a really cute dog…

So once again I’m sorry dear readers. I’m trying to get you addicted to something else and then you will wait by your phone every Tuesday for this lovely comic to upload. haha

Happy Reading!

Personal Update

I just wanted to mention that I fell really behind in reading your amazing blogs and I probably will miss some of them and it makes me so sad. I had a car accident and that sent me into depression mode for about 4 days where I didn’t do anything. I’m getting back up on my feet, but I wanted you all to know that I didn’t forget about your blogs. I just didn’t do anything because I couldn’t. But I’m rising up again and that is all I can do. I love you all and thank you for being the understanding awesome individuals that you are!

Ready for Torture?

Did your mind go to whips? Chains? Spanking? Good. That is why I love you all lol.

Sorry I’m being a bit weird because I’m going to share my latest addiction with you and it is seriously torturing me. So I thought I’d invite you all in for the fun since I know some of you will love it or even already take part.

Soooo one of my dear writing friends convinced me to get the app Webtoons. You know that reading app that is always advertised on Facebook. The ads looked pretty interesting, but I don’t really like downloading a lot of apps. However, since she is a friend and was really excited about this webtoon called “I Love Yoo” I took the recommendation and started to read.

Yoo

Are you all reading this? If you are why didn’t you tell me!!??

I was just going in expecting a okay little comic, by gum it is so good.

What exactly do I like about it?

First there is the humor…

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Pro tip right there

This anime deals with some heavy issues. But the humor breaks it up very nicely. I love the deep story of the main characters lives, but with each of their distinct personalities they all bring a bit of different humor to the story.

I like this webtoon so much that I find it hard to describe… Just go read it lol. Did that work?

No?

Well then lets talk characters

Yoo

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She is pretty much my perfect main character because she is so un-perfect. Awkward and bold. Yoo also does her best to hide her feelings from ever showing. Her past is still a bit of a mystery to what happened (we know a bit but I won’t post spoilers :/) but she always wants to keep a brave face on for her father.

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She doesn’t like to be social and she really isn’t interested in men. The struggle for her is building relationships with people she doesn’t know or even want to get to know. When her two friends finally talk her into going to a party is is because there is food and she just wants to eat… (A woman after my own heart).

Yoo is very rough around the edges, but she cares so much for the people around her. Also her reactions are pure gold.

Yeong-Gi

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Is there a special reason I chose this picture? You tell me 😉

So he is another character who tends to always have to hide his true feelings. He is always bright and smiling. There is a certain desperation about him as he forces other people to be his friends. I admit it can be weird feeling sorry for a rich kid, but once again I love that there is so much more going on in his past. It is hard for him to be honest with Yoo.

His interactions with her are so sweet and he really does care about her.

He is also my top ship and probably my boyfriend 😉

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Ha 😛

Kousuke

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This guy cracks me up. He kind of reminds me a bit of Juman Han from mystic messenger. Kousuke had to mature really fast and pretty much is that character that never got to have any fun in his life. He doesn’t understand Yoo most of the time and he is really disconnected from the social norms of the world. He thinks that buying things and money will solve everything.

He also loves to eat sweets when he is stressed out.

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Gosh I love him.

These three characters really come together and it makes for a wonderful read. You will want to cry one minute and then laugh the next.

But I mentioned torture…

No this doesn’t go 50 Shades of Yoo.

This is still ongoing. So every Thursday I get a notification that the next chapter is up. One chapter a week.

So I know most of you already read ongoing manga lol so why not add a free app and join me in reading this wonderful story. Oh and it is not the only awesome story on there… More to come later.

Happy Reading!

Son Hak

In my writing of this wonderful anime/manga I’ve re-watched and re-read and I found myself loving it just as much as the first time. With strong backstory and characters you really can’t go wrong with watching this anime. Also I found that I indeed have the biggest 2D infatuation on my last entry of this series.

Hak.

Hak Rain

I’m actually finding this entry really hard to start! I’ve done a lot of thinking and research (don’t worry it wasn’t just looking for picture of him) and this is the entry I’ve been looking forward to the most yet dreading the most as to what to say about this character.

Hak Gaze

He is the adopted grandson of the chief of the wind tribe Son Mundok and at a young age rose in rank and at the start of the anime he is a general and the chief of the wind tribe. Although I was always a bit confused on how he could be both since it seems like he spent most of his time at the castle.

At first he isn’t really impressed by King Il and thinks that his ideals are silly at best. However, Hak one day got to see a side of the King that no one else will probably ever know or understand. The king stopped a blade with his bare hand and made no complaint. Just smiled.

From then one the King had Hak’s loyalty and Hak vowed to protect the princess.

Hak Arrow

At the start of the journey Yona was basically helpless and once Hak was severely injured that was her turning point and the start of her own personal journey to improve and grow stronger.

Hak Shield

This was very frustrating for Hak he wanted Yona to use him, “Keep your mouth shut and hang on, Princess. Think of me as a tool. Use me so that you can live! That’s what I’m here for!” This was his understanding of his new job. Just to keep her safe and still in her bubble.

She is a princess and he had a vow to keep.

He doesn’t like the fact that she makes her own vow. To protect him.

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He is the first reason. The reason they travel all over the country to gather the dragons. She sees how hard he fights and his willingness to die for her. So she decides to get others to protect him.

He has really unique relationships with all the dragons. I really enjoy him and the white dragons interactions also the green dragon…. (Any ships sailing there there?)

Hak Bye
“I don’t swing that way pal”

This is a bit of a source of humor with the dragons. Especially the white dragon. Hak is just as strong as they are, but she wants them to protect him.

Hak fighting

But he still follows her.

She asks him for training and he refuses at first because the king never liked weapons and after all he was there to protect her. Finally he agrees to help her learn to shoot and makes an off comment to Yona that his men would start off shooting 200 arrows a day but that she wouldn’t be able to.

So every night she does just that.

He jokes with her about her shooting and then asks her to shoot him.

Hak Silly

He is trying to prove a point that she is unable to take a life. He is still fighting to save the old Yona and to protect the King’s wishes.

Then he stops trying to hold her back even though there are some cases where he wants to. He lets her grow.

Hak worried

But he never stops her. Hak always lets her know that she is taking risks when she shouldn’t, but he never holds her back because she is a woman or a princess.

I think that is one of his best attributes. He shows his belief in her and what she can become.

There are many things that I can say about this character. Mischievous, loyal, funny, strong… etc… We can go on all day, but in the end he is always there for her.

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One of my favorite parts is this scene. Where he tells her that he doesn’t want to hide her away, but he wants to show the world the princess who cut her hair and who grew so strong. To show the world that she is fierce and loving and loyal.

There friendship is something I think everyone desires. That mutual trust.

Sometimes it can be hard to watch since we all know that Hak has feelings for Yona, but he never admits them to her. We do however get the honey scene… Heh… (let me silent my squeeing for a bit)

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The Thunder/Lightning Beast. Loyal friend and shield. He will continue to follow Yona and to see more of their relationship… Well, you may just have to read the manga ;). Meanwhile here is some fan-service….

Hak Fan service

Even if you are not a fan of romance, that really isn’t what this anime is about. It is/has always been about the characters and how they have grown and changed and it is really amazing to watch.

So I hoped you enjoyed my series!

Happy watching!

 

 

Also I’ve included a picture that I commissioned from one of my students from my favorite moment in the anime. It is the first picture I hung up in my office :).

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