Monday, July 30, 2007

Kendo Update and New Anime

Okay, it's been a while since I posted something so I apologize for that. So here's a quick rundown of what's happened since the last posting (which really isn't much).

- I took the ikkyu test, but I failed it again. Quite naturally, I was pretty disappointed in myself since I thought that I did a pretty good job this time around. I asked some of the judges what I did wrong, but they ended up being the ones that passed me, but I did get some useful advice. The most important advice given to me was that I needed to control the situation better. If the person you are fighting doesn't do well, then you need to react accordingly. So while you might not be doing anything wrong, if you can't adapt, then the other person could aid in your failing as well.

- Just the general Kendo stuff. I had to skip last week due to having a sore throat late in the week. The latest practice was nice since the purpose of the class was to concentrate on the footwork as something to improve on. The main tip of the day was to improve quickly by setting a goal to improve something and try to carry it out throughout the practice. It's easy to get caught up in the swings and the movement and sort of forget what your body is doing, so it's a nice way to gain some perspective on your body's movement.

- There has been this anime series that I have been looking for for quite a while. But this isn't just any normal anime, it's an anime based on Kendo. And this isn't one of those that they just have it for a few episodes as a club activity for the characters. The whole anime is based on one's journey to become the best Kenshi in Japan. The name of it is Musashi no Ken. The manga was made in the early 70s to early 80s with the anime to follow around '85 or so.

The anime was never hard to obtain. It was just prohibitively expensive. For some reason, it costs over US$500 to obtain the Japanese version. Just days after finding the first seven episodes on BitTorrent, I found the Taiwanese version for US$30 for the whole series, which apparently has been available since this March. Naturally, I decided to swipe the series up, and it has been in my hands for about two days. Here are my first impressions.

This is the first and only series that I have where I have read the manga in its entirety and have the opportunity to see the anime and their differences. The amazing thing is that the voices that I have running in my head while reading the manga is almost spot on with the voices used in the Anime. Not really sure how that happened, but oh well.

As before, I did say that it is the Taiwanese version. But for those Japanophiles out there, the packaging, DVD menus and subtitles are in Chinese. The show seems virtually untouched from the Japanese version as the language is, of course, in Japanese. Of course, if you know chinese, you have the leg up since you'd be able to understand what they are saying. For us English speakers out there, we are out of luck. Though, even if you know Japanese, you might still have a hard time understanding it since regional dialects are used here. Unfortunately, there are very few resources available for learning specific dialects, so everything has to be taken from context.

Right now, I'm only on episode 11 or so, but I am seeing that this series is definately spot on with the manga. Even so, it's nice to have a different representation since literature and TV can express things differently. If you like the manga, I am pretty sure you will like the series though.


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