Ξ December 21st, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Music is Life, The Anime Annals |
Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to boot! Does that cover everyone and everything? Hope so
Thank you, Mike; very festive! Since I’m in the middle of planning/expediting a big move (yes, another #@$%&*^ one), I don’t have much time for a typical hours-long-in-the-making post. So rather than fudge around trying to force the issue and just type for the sake of typing, how about some year-end mood-setting and celebration instead? I’ve rounded up a nice diverse assortment of holiday treats and goodies; if one thing doesn’t suit your fancy, please feel free to move on to the next!
THE MUSIC AND ANIMATION SECTION:
Ian Anderson with (and without) Jethro Tull has always celebrated the holiday season well, releasing many Christmas-themed songs over the years. One of these chestnuts is the lovely “Ring Out the Solstice Bells,” which follows in this lively animated promotional video from 1976:
No Christmas post (of mine LOL) would be complete without a gathering of several of Kate Bush’s holiday-feeling songs. “December Will Be Magic Again” has been among my most-loved Christmassy songs from the first moments I heard it. It’s perfect; it even has jingle bells! Here’s a (fittingly) beautiful live version of it from her 1979 Christmas special (and thanks to fellow HomeGrounder Symphonyofflowers who posted these and also provides the lyrics on the vid’s page):
If Kate is to your fancy (and why wouldn’t she be?) then please enjoy a couple of more warm and soothing songs. Not so coincidentally, the first up is “Warm and Soothing” and is just (but not just) that:
Incidentally, that was the B-side to “December Will Be Magic Again.” Yes, holidays can be melancholy too… not to mention COLD! Keeping with the “warm-n-toasty” theme, Kate invites you into “The Warm Room”…
…annnd now for something completely different!
THE ANIME AND MUSIC SECTION:
Briefly (betcha never thought I’d type that!) the basics are this: scary-eyed Ryuuji lives with his partying mom and their bird Inko-chan (!) in an humble-but-clean abode (despite his scary looks handed down to him by his father, Ryuuji’s a clean-freak). In the towering apartment complex next door lives Taiga (aka “The Palmtop Tiger” due to her size and volatile temper) who is Ryuuji’s direct across-the-alley neighbor, and living alone separated from her parents. They attend the same school as her friend Minori and his friend Kitamura. Things are (relatively) simple at first when it’s just a matter of Taiga liking Kitamura and Ryuuji pining for Minori; Ryuuji and Taiga team up to help each other gather the nerve to approach their loved ones (aka “obsessions” LOL) and confess their feelings.
Simple, that is, until Ami enters the story, a stuck up, self-centered, manipulative student and sometimes model, who gets things pretty stirred up… She’s a very interesting and complex character whom I couldn’t stand at first, but grew to appreciate later on, thanks to her character’s development. Turns out that the “Oh Holy Night” song turned out to be “Holy Night” and wasn’t the song that I was thinking of at all. It actually was good enough to consider posting here, but the spoilers involving Ami and Taiga shouldn’t be revealed to those curious about watching the show. It’s very cute though xD
So I’ll put up a couple of other Christmassy TD clips with somewhat lesser spoilers! I guess it can’t be helped
Especially if the above interested you, here’s a voiced (and subtitled) segment of a majority of the above scene where you can hear the acting quality, especially of Taiga’s seiyuu, Rie Kugimiya. Note how fleshed-out the characters are with the actual dialogue and scenarios revealed; you understand Taiga’s sad attempts at enjoying her bare-bones Christmas, and witness how these young people exhibit genuine care for one another; a quality lacking not only in cartoons but in general these days. Also wonderful in the series were Minori’s and Ami’s voice actresses, Yui Horie and Eri Kitamura; but this clip is all about Taiga/Rie-chan. Enjoy this holiday “Vanilla Salt”-y taste of Toradora
Awesome scene, huh? I looked for a Rie Kugimiya Christmas pic but couldn’t find one So, here’s one of Rie Tanaka (who voiced Chobits‘ Chii, among many others)!
Incidentally, and since I’m kind-of on the subject of voice actresses, they oftentimes double-up on a series and aside from voicing also sing the show’s Opening Theme (OP) and/or Ending Theme (ED), which are usually released as singles and sell quite a lot. Also, to explain the above “Vanilla Salt” reference that only those who know about the show will get: the ED to Toradora is called “Vanilla Salt”, and sung by Minori’s seiyuu, Yui Horie (one of my big faves, who also voiced Kanon‘s Ayu). The only subtitled version I could find is Low-ish Quality, but it has the lyrics subbed so it can tell a bit more about the characters’ points-of-view (and I should add that one doesn’t have to be Japanese to appreciate the universal joys and pains of what these characters experience; remember and re-live, if you dare ):
And well-deserved congratulations to Taiga, who won the Topaz Necklace in this year’s International Saimoe League (ISML)! Here’s a cute poster that Kholdstare cobbled together to celebrate and commemorate her victory:
Oh hey, it’s (almost) Christmas! For those of you who enjoyed the Toradora clips above and want more, here’s its link to the Anime News network’s encyclopedia entry, with a “WATCH IT NOW” button so that you can, indeed, watch all 25 episodes now! Or later, YMMV
EDIT: I just discovered that starting with episode 5, the only way to watch the remainder is to pay a supposedly small fee which I haven’t checked out since I can’t afford *anything* right now, even “small fees”
Bah, Humbug! :-<
OH! THE “OH HOLY NIGHT” SECTION!:
As it turns out, today my friend Denise sent me this lovely video of Celtic Woman doing their rendition of “Oh Holy Night,” live from Dublin! Perseverence furthers, eh? This beats Eric Cartman’s version by a long shot! (Or a shot anyway; that South Park segment is pretty funny…) Please enjoy this most Christmassy of Christmas songs
NOW it feels like Christmas! My best wishes of the Holiday Season to you and yours; and let’s remember what this season is really about: _____, _____, and _____. Fill in the blanks; more are available ;-)
Peace, and goodwill towards our fellow Beings
And wow, that did turn out to be another hours-in-the-making post o.O Hope you enjoy reading it, and please feel free to leave your comments! Bye-bye-eee…